With a little effort doing your own taxes is not difficult, especially if you don’t own a business or have any stocks, etc. If all you get back is a W-2 and you don’t have a family, it’s a piece of cake.
As if all those qualifiers weren’t enough, enter credits like the Schedule M that taxpayers received for the past two years. All you had to do was have a job, be a citizen, and not have your money coming from weird countries and you got $600. For nothing. Sadly (or not sadly if you look at it from a specific political perspective,) the Schedule M is gone this year.
I could write a post, or several posts, that told you exactly how to do your taxes and get all your money back correctly. I feel like that would be kind of silly. You could just read the instructions on the IRS website, instead. And if you feel like you need help, call the IRS. You might be on hold for a couple of minutes, but their phone representatives have to answer all your questions. For me, it’s always worth saving the minimum of $60 I’d pay to a big box tax prep company. All I have to do is read.
If you’re really not confident in your skills, the United Way offers a program where they have trained people to do your taxes for you for free. You have to meet certain income guidelines (as in you have to be below certain income guidelines.)
If you are not required to do a return because you don’t make a lot of money, DO IT ANYWAYS. You are not required to file because the government probably owes you money. If they don’t owe you money, the people at United Way may be able to find you a credit like the EIC, or minimum wage subsidy. Let me repeat: they say it is not required because they know they probably owe you something. FILE!!!
Oh, and if you’re a military family you probably already know this, but they also have trained personnel to help you file for free on base/post. Ask your commanders about the service if you don’t already know where to go.
Here’s all the helpful phone numbers/websites, etc: