Action Line: Where to get help with tax filing
BY PHIL MULKINS World Action Line Editor
Friday, January 25, 2013
1/25/13 at 11:50 AM
Dear Action Line: Where can we go for free tax return preparation help? - N.T., Tulsa.
The Internal Revenue Service website says two groups offer free return preparation: IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE).
VITA: This program offers free tax help to people making $51,000 or less per year and need assistance preparing their tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals in local communities. They can inform taxpayers about special tax credits for which they might qualify such as Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. VITA sites are located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls and other locations.
TCE: The TCE Program offers free tax help for all with priority to people 60 or older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement issues unique to seniors. IRS-certified volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS. TCE sites are operated by the AARP Foundation's Tax Aide Program late January through April 15.
Self-help tax preparation: In addition to traditional face-to-face tax preparation, the IRS offers a self-assistance service at many VITA and TCE locations. If individuals have a simple tax return and need a little help or do not have access to a computer, they can visit one of the participating tax preparation sites and an IRS-certified volunteer will guide them through the process. Find VITA or TCE sites closest to your ZIP Code at tulsaworld.com/VITAnTCEsites.
Find sites by phone: Each program can be accessed for site information at VITA 800-906-9887 or TCE at the AARP site locator tool at tulsaworld.com/AARPsitelocator or by calling 888-227-7669.
Items to bring: Proof of identification such as a state photo ID; Social Security cards for you, your spouse and dependents or a Social Security number verification letter issued by the Social Security Administration or Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) assignment letter for you, your spouse and dependents; proof of foreign status if applying for an ITIN; birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents listed on the tax return; and wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, and 1099-Misc from all employers. Bring interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099), a copy of last year's federal and state returns if available, proof of bank account routing numbers and account numbers for Direct Deposit, such as a blank check; total paid for daycare provider and the daycare provider's tax identifying number (the provider's Social Security number or the provider's business employer identification number) if appropriate.
To file taxes electronically on a married-filing-jointly tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms. It is important that the people involved use their correct Social Security numbers. The most accurate information is usually located on your original Social Security card. If you do not have an SSN for you or a dependent, you should complete Form SS-5, Social Security Number Application. This form should be submitted to the nearest Social Security Administration Office.
If you or your dependent are not eligible to get a Social Security number, you all might need individual taxpayer identification numbers tulsaworld.com/IRSITIN
Original Print Headline: Where to find help for your tax filings
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