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The internalrevenueservice (IRS) offers many free tax resources to U.S. taxpayers, including help online, by phone and in person.
By Nancy Mathis, Free File Outreach Coordinator
The Internal Revenue Service and 14 commercial software providers are making an offer that’s hard to beat: do your taxes online for free.
This public/private partnership is called Free File, which provides free brand-name software or fillable forms. If your income is $58,000 or less — and that’s 70 percent of taxpayers — you can use a Free File software product. If your income is more, use Free File Fillable Forms. Explore your options only at IRS.gov/freefile.
Each participating Free File company sets its own eligibility criteria, generally based on income, age, state residency or military status. You can either browse the offers yourself or use a “Help Me” tool that narrows the list for you.
The IRS previously announced it would delay the filing season due to critical system testing following the federal government closure. However, Free File software became available January 17. Companies will safely and securely hold completed returns until the IRS begins accepting tax returns on January 31. Free File Fillable Forms also is available starting January 31.
The tax deadline remains April 15. If you can’t make the April 15 deadline, you also can use Free File to file for a six-month extension with Form 4868. You can then use Free File through October 15.
Here’s some additional information:
The IRS also needs your help in making more people aware of Free File. If you are a governmental agency, business or charity, there also are products for you to increase awareness among your clients, customers or own employees at freefile.irs.gov/partners.
You can get a good overview in this Spread the Word appeal. There is sample content for emails and newsletters, a social media content calendar, a tax-day countdown widget for your website and Infographics on How to Free File and the Benefits of Free File.
Identity thieves could use your Social Security number to steal your tax refund or get a job.
This week marks Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week, so use the resources from the Federal Trade Commission to learn how to protect yourself.
There will be events throughout the week — including a webinar on Jan. 15 and a Twitter chat on Jan. 16 — to help you learn more.
Choosing a Tax Preparer
Find out how to pick a reputable tax preparer.
Here’s a tip from the IRS.
Hi I’m Dee and I work for the Internal Revenue Service.
Are you thinking about hiring a tax preparer?
If you are, you need to know that you are legally responsible for what’s on your tax return even if someone else prepares it for you.
So choose your tax preparer carefully. Ask for references. And find a professional who’s available after you file your tax return, just in case.
Beware of tax preparers who guarantee a refund without ever seeing your financial information first.
Remember never sign a blank return, and before you do sign your finish tax return, look it over and ask about anything that’s unclear.
Paid preparers are required to sign your return and show a preparer ID number. So don’t use a preparer who doesn’t sign your return.
For more information visit IRS.gov keyword “choosing a tax preparer.”