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United Way Blog

Options for Free Tax Filing

As millions of Americans struggle from the economic fallout of COVID-19, saving money is more critical than ever. Luckily, there are many options to file your taxes for free.

All over the U.S., United Way is connecting people to free tax preparation offerings and helping filers get the tax credits for which they are eligible. There are options to file on your own or to connect to full-service programs to have your return prepared and filed for free. When people file for free, they save an average of $200 in filing fees.

  • MyFreeTaxes helps people file their federal and state returns without spending any money in tax preparation fees. So far, MyFreeTaxes has helped 1.3 million people save $260 million in tax filing fees. It also screens for credit and deduction eligibility such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit to ensure filers receive their maximum tax refund, and lets filers check for any missed stimulus payments. Learn more and start filing today at www.myfreetaxes.com
  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs, run by nonprofit organizations, including local United Ways, offer free tax preparation services by IRS-certified volunteers virtually and in-person. There are 12,000 VITA sites across the country that serve filers who typically earn less than $57,000 (most of us, since America's median individual income is $40,100), including people with disabilities and those with limited English. To find a VITA site near you, go to www.myfreetaxes.com and choose to file your taxes “With assistance,” or contact your local United Way.
  • If you’re over the age of 50, you can get one-on-one assistance by IRS-certified volunteers virtually and in-person at 5,000 Tax-Aide sites run by AARP. Tax-Aide sites are in neighborhood libraries, malls, banks, community centers and senior centers. There’s no fee and no sales pitch for other services.  AARP membership is not required. Find a location near you here.
  • If you earn less than $69,000, you can file for free through IRS Free File, a partnership between the agency and the Free File Alliance, a group of private preparers. Click here for more details on the program. Each company has a slightly different free offering, so be sure to read the eligibility requirements. If possible, choose a program that will allow you to file both your federal and state returns for free. The IRS Free File program also offers Free Fillable File Forms, which are electronic versions of IRS paper forms. But that doesn’t include the software help available through Free File.
  • If you’re in the military, you can use MilTax, a service provided by the Department of Defense that uses a version of H&R Block’s tax software. It’s free to active-duty service members, those in the National Guard or Reserves, and their families. There are no income or tax form restrictions.

Make the most of this tax season. Review your Tax Time Financial Checklist.

Once you’ve determined how to file your taxes for free, take a moment to review your Tax Time Financial Checklist and maximize the financial impact of this tax refund.

  • Open an affordable bank account
  • Get your tax refund by direct deposit
  • Access student loan debt relief
  • Contact 211 to find locally available resources, including free financial coaching

Get started at www.myfreetaxes.com/support/tax-time-financial-checklist.

Inspired by what you read? Change starts with you. Take action today to make a difference in your community.

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