How to Get Your Taxes Prepared for Free

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how to get your taxes prepared for free

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:

IRS Phone Number for Individual Taxpayers (It’s toll-free:)  1-800-829-1040
Pittsburgh’s United Way Tax Help

11 thoughts on “How to Get Your Taxes Prepared for Free

  1. jlcollinsnh

    great advice here FF….

    I actually volunteer with VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) which is funded thru United Way. Not only do we do taxes, mostly for lower income folks, free; we very likely do them more accurately than Block and the rest.

    Each year we go thru training and testing to re-certify. Each return we prepare is checked twice, first by one of our peers and second by the woman who runs our program.

    Because we are volunteers we like doing this and our clients are well treated and always welcome. Many come back each year.

  2. femmefrugality

    Oh, my gosh, Sarah…me too. No joke.
    jlcollinsnh….so glad you commented! It’s nice to hear from someone on the other side of the process. I’m a big believer in you guys.
    Thanks to both of you for stopping by!

  3. youngandthrifty

    I love tax season too!

    I paid someone $200 to do my taxes and since then I’ve been doing it myself.

    If the CRA isn’t happy with what I’ve done I can always correct it I suppose 🙂

    It also helps I have an accountant dad I can ask 🙂

    1. jlcollinsnh

      you might also try VITA. We encourage the taxpayer to watch what we do and ask questions. we also try to explain as we go along. most aren’t interested, but those that are, are a treat for us.

  4. femmefrugality

    That’s a good method, too. Pay for it one year, then follow what they did the next few years as long as your financial situation and tax laws don’t change. Jealous that you have a dad nearby to help! That’s great!

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