Five Helpful Resources for Tax Season in the U.S
23 September, 2021
Many find tax season in the United States to be exceedingly difficult to navigate. Despite the fact that certain aspects of the process can now be more or less automated, tricky decisions always seem to come up. Even people who have done their own taxes for years often find themselves wondering if they've marked everything correctly, or if they've left out important details and disclosures.
Because the process is so perpetually irksome, we've decided to provide a list of helpful resources that people can use come tax season year in and year out.
1. Free tax prep software
Free tax prep software wont always get you all the way to the finish line, even if it's designed in some cases to do just that. Per CNET, most of the best software programs in this space will ultimately charge fees to complete your preparation and/or file state and federal taxes. Nevertheless, these same services do offer some assistance for free, or for small fees. They can help you to be sure that you're on the right track as you organize your returns, and if you are going to file on your own, they often make for the simplest avenues through which to do so.
2. The IRS website
Going to the IRS website sounds like a nightmare. It's not always the most intuitive platform to navigate, and you've probably visited it more often than not to look into a problem. That said, the IRS has built some tools and references into its site specifically to assist people with tax preparation. AskMoney consistently posts personal financial advice, and recently put up a piece identifying some of these IRS.gov tools. According to the article, the IRS will help you with the E-filing process, help you track a refund, estimate what you'll owe, and access various forms of personal assistance.
3. The VITA program
VITA stands for "Volunteer Income Tax Assistance." It is a program that was actually started by the IRS, with the goal of providing free tax assistance to people who might not be able to access it otherwise. The VITA program offers different kinds of guidance, including full, free preparation of tax returns. That said, the program is only accessible to people who qualify based on low-to-moderate income, disability, or a few other specific conditions.
4. Financial advice sites
This suggestion is somewhat broad, but will often lead to valuable advice and feedback. Financial sites such as U.S. News or Yahoo Finance, or a host of other similar platforms, frequently cover common tax issues. These are reputable sites where people who thoroughly understand tax prep processes write to help people with questions. They are also likely to provide in-depth coverage for changes that may arise at any point relating to IRS requirements or the tax code.
5. Your local CPA
Finally, you can always contact a local CPA! This option is beginning to seem almost old-fashioned in the age of TurboTax, TaxAct and the like. Furthermore, it will usually cost money (even if a brief free consultation is not unheard of). Nevertheless, there's something valuable about sitting down with an experienced professional to go over tax details in person. This can not only help you to address questions and fill out your return in any given year, but also to gain a better understanding of how to handle your taxes in the future.
We hope this guide will be of use the next time you start to think about your taxes, and we encourage you to browse Lowtax for additional information related to tax issues.
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