IRS encouraging taxpayers to use free tax preparations and filing

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) opened the 2020 tax filing season this week. It is now accepting and processing federal tax returns for 2019. Depending on your income and age, you can participate in free online and in-person tax return preparations and filing through the IRS Free File or community programs.

Taxpayers with incomes of $69,000 or less last year can use IRS Free File. IRS Free File is a public-private partnership between the Internal Revenue Service and Free File Inc. People can look up a tool at irs.gov and choose one of the 10 featured online software products.

Officials said since its 2003 debut, Free File has served nearly 57 million taxpayers, saving an estimated $1.7 billion calculated using a conservative $30 tax preparation fee.

Ralph Tulino with the IRS Media Relations Department said, “You want to keep in mind, each software provider has some nuisance stipulations there that may or may not affect you choosing one or the other.”

Taxpayers who want more hands-on help can go through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program or Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) offered by AARP. The IRS partners with community organizations and AARP to train volunteers to prepare free returns for taxpayers.

People can use the VITA program if they make $56,000 or less, have a disability, or speak limited English.

The TCE program is geared for people who are 60 and older. Those volunteers specialize in pension and retirement related questions. Tulino said if you qualify, to take advantage of these free resources.

“We would want them to be used more because they are free services, by all means take advantage of either program whatever you can do to get a return done for free. Just keep in mind that your income is usually for lower to moderate income to qualify for either program."

He said when you’re ready to file your tax returns, to have all your documents organized.

Officials also encourage taxpayers to file electronically and choose direct deposit for faster refunds. Officials said filing electronically reduces tax return errors. Tulino said, “Certainly the software and the convenience of such, makes it so much easier to get through.”

For more information you can visit IRS.gov.

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