Saving Tip of the Day: Don’t Pay to Get Your Taxes Done!

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It’s tax time! Do I sound excited? I am. Not about taxes particularly but about an awesome resource that I get to share every year at tax time. It’s an easy way to save money this tax season and keep all of your refund.  If you make less than $66,000/household (number updated for the state of Ohio) you are eligible to have your taxes prepared for free through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA ) Program. FREE. Totally, absolutely, no strings attached, FREE. You will get your refund just as quickly as you would if you paid to file. On that note, don’t ever pay to get your refund faster. It’s often a scam and always a rip-off. You have been waiting all year; you can wait another couple days. I utilized the VITA program the last two years and had my refund direct deposited into my bank account within 3 days of filing each time.
Many VITA sites are equipped to assist limited English speakers and people with disabilities. In addition to VITA, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors.
Where are these magical free tax preparation sites you ask?
Find a site near you:
Note: Some sites require an appointment and others take walk-ins. Be sure to plan accordingly. Also, if you don’t need assistance from a certified tax preparer, you can do it yourself online.
Once you decide where to go, gather all the necessary documents. Here is what you need to bring:

  • Proof of identification (photo ID)
  • Social Security cards for you, your spouse and dependents
  • An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) assignment letter may be substituted for you, your spouse and your dependents if you do not have a Social Security number
  • Proof of foreign status, if applying for an ITIN
  • Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents on the tax return
  • Wage and earning statements (Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R,1099-Misc) from all employers
  • Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
  • All Forms 1095, Health Insurance Statements
  • Health Insurance Exemption Certificate, if received
  • A copy of last year’s federal and state returns, if available
  • Proof of bank account routing and account numbers for direct deposit such as a blank check
  • To file taxes electronically on a married-filing-joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms
  • Total paid for daycare provider and the daycare provider’s tax identifying number such as their Social Security number or business Employer Identification Number
  • Forms 1095-A, B or C, Affordable Health Care Statements
  • Copies of income transcripts from IRS and state, if applicable

The United Way is involved with VITA sites in many areas so you can always call 2-1-1 for more information and to see if you quality for your state/county. If you want help budgeting that tax return or making a plan to pay back debt, we can help. Contact Apprisen to set up an appointment with one of our certified financial counselors:

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