Tax season can be a stressful time. As you gather documents and review this year's forms, though, the IRS is there to help. You can find plenty of free tools, both in the form of videos and articles, that can help you get through the process of filing.
Free Tax Preparation
Probably the most useful freebie the IRS offers is Free File, a tax preparation solution available to households with an adjusted gross income of $73,000 or less. The software walks you, step by step, through filing your taxes, asking you questions and doing the calculations for you as you go. If you file state taxes, the software will also handle some of that for free, depending on your tax situation and your local tax laws.
Video of the Day
Households earning more than $73,000 a year aren't completely left out, though. The IRS offers free fillable forms that you can complete and electronically file or print out. No guidance is provided, so you'll need to know how to file your own taxes if you go this route.
Consider also: Will You Receive a 1099-MISC or 1099-NEC?
Free Informational Videos
If you have questions while you're filing your taxes, chances are, there's a video on the IRS YouTube Channel that will help answer them. The videos are grouped in sections according to topics such as Child Tax Credit, Small Business and COVID-19 Relief. There's even a section with miscellaneous tax tips coming from actual IRS employees.
For ongoing tax tips throughout the season, you can subscribe to the IRS's YouTube channel. You can also follow the IRS on your favorite social media platform including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Videos are shared to those sites as they post on YouTube, so you'll be able to keep up with anything new that comes down the pike.
Free Tax Tips and News
Those looking for a little reading material can go straight to the IRS website for free news and tips. The Current Tax Tips page on the site provides tidbits of information as you prepare to file. These tips typically address the latest issues impacting tax filing, including the adoption tax credit and reporting gig economy earnings.
Often, though, the help you need is very specific. That's why the IRS provides the Interactive Tax Assistant, which can answer your specific questions. You can use this tool to get answers to questions like "Do I need to file a tax return?" and "Should I file an amended return?"
You can also use the search function to learn more about certain topics while you're preparing your taxes. Just click on "Search" on any page on IRS.gov and enter your search terms to see all the articles, tax publications and tools related to those words.
Consider also: Organize Your Papers for Tax Time
Free In-Person Resources
You may also qualify for free taxpayer assistance at a location near you. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly services are available to those who qualify. VITA is open to those making $58,000 or less, persons with disabilities and those who speak limited English, while TCE is available to those who are age 60 and over.
The internet isn't the only way to get free tax resources. If you need paper forms, you may already know that you can find them at your local library. You can also pick up paper forms at IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers, which are spread throughout the country.
Due to COVID, though, some locations may be closed. The good news is that you can always get paper forms mailed to your house. For free forms by phone, simply call 1-800-TAX-FORM, or 1-800-829-3676. Of course, you can also print the forms at IRS.gov/forms-instructions.