Tips & advice on getting your finances back on track.
It is tax time again! As we know, there are two guarantees in life, death and taxes. There are a lot of options for tax preparation. The most expensive, but often necessary for difficult tax returns is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Many people find that their lack of tax knowledge and the time it would take to learn it, makes utilizing a CPA well worth the cost.
In recent years, we have seen an influx of paid tax preparer services. These include agencies such as H&R Block and Liberty Tax Service. One of the biggest draws to these companies, is the tax advance loans they provide. They will often charge high fees for loans in the amount of the client’s tax refund. According to the Internal Revenue Service, the average refund is directly deposited into the filer’s bank account in 21 days, without any fees. This would be the more fiscally advantageous choice.
Tax software programs are also readily available. Tax software is often less expensive than using a paid tax preparer, but you lack that one on one personal attention. They may have a phone number or chat feature to let you speak with a specialist, but if you are nervous about preparing your own taxes, this may not be the route for you.
Many people have no idea that they may be eligible for free tax preparation by an IRS-certified tax volunteer. The program serves households with dependents with incomes up to $54,000 and individuals with incomes up to $30,000 and runs during the tax season each year until April 15. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) is a free, IRS-sponsored program to assist low to moderate income individuals. The program volunteers prepare both state and federal personal tax returns and file them electronically. To locate the nearest site you can call 800-906-9887.
For those that are 60 years of age or older, the IRS has a program in addition to VITA, the Tax Counseling for Elderly (TCE) program. This program offers taxpayers support with filing taxes in which pension and retirement related issues may come up. The volunteers are often retired individuals themselves and have additional knowledge in this area. To find a TCE site, call 888-227-7669.
Read More: Planning For Your Tax Refund
Filing your taxes does not have to be scary. There are many options available. If you have a low to moderate salary be sure to investigate the Earned Income Tax Credit. For the 2019 tax year, the credit ranges for $529 to $6557. Who couldn’t use a little extra money in their wallet?
Kim Cole is the Community Engagement Manager for Navicore Solutions. Kim provides financial education workshops and seminars to communities. Readers can submit general questions relating to personal finance, credit scoring, debt management, student loans, home finance or bankruptcy which may be highlighted in the next month’s edition. All identifying information will be kept anonymous.
Please send your questions via email to DearKim@navicoresolutions.org