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Free Tax Filing Support for Seniors

freeby Gene Barrett – In a recent article we brought to our members attention the serious concerns we have over the proposed IRS’ “Return Free” tax preparation program. As a result, we feel it is also important to shed some light on some of the successful free programs that are available to seniors across the country that offer expert tax filing support. As we discussed, the IRS has proposed that by spending billions of American tax dollars, we can bid adieu to independent and expert filing, and instead rely on their handiwork to calculate our bills and refunds. A major conflict of interest that is loaded with economic consequences stands in stark contrast to the variety of free programs already offered today, through the private sector and small businesses alike.

As we speak out against the IRS proposal, we also note that for the past 11 years, the Free File Alliance has been running a highly successful free tax preparation program. Free File is a joint program offered by the government and the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA). Under CCIA, the Free File Alliance is responsible for the successful and free filing of millions of American tax returns, without the challenges or conflict of interest innate to the “Return Free” proposal.

The Free File Alliance is a rare cooperative offering something free and uncompromising in quality to millions of Americans. Through the programs offered by the Alliance, major corporations are demonstrating what it means to give back to the communities that have helped them develop into the businesses they are today. For example, CCIA partner Intuit has donated over 22 million tax returns to qualified participants since the programs inception in 2002. These services are offered across the country, working with senior, veteran, and community organizations to find space and computers, and offer free, expert filing to all that qualify. People with an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $58,000 or less can select from more than a dozen online tax preparation services. That means about 70 percent of all taxpayers, or 95 million people, are eligible to use these free services. Because of advanced software available through CCIA affiliates, tax filers are guaranteed the strictest standards in security and accuracy.

Additionally, through the IRS web site, CCIA and its partner companies like Intuit, H&R Block and Microsoft offer free state tax preparation to qualified taxpayers who file returns in 22 states and the District of Columbia that sponsor their own Free File: Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.

These programs are working, and they are being used by the folks that need free support to file their taxes. Corporate accountability is a positive element in American society and something for us to celebrate, appreciate, and utilize. As tax season comes around next year, we will profile the opportunities through Free File Alliance for our members and their communities to participate in and file their taxes free of charge. 

Comments (20)

  1. PaulE says:

    “Free” sounds great, but just make sure it’s also done right. I’m all for any private organization that offers competent, expert advice in this area for free to seniors. Many seniors could use the help and would appreciate honest, competent service in this area. Our tax code isn’t getting any simpler after all. That’s something that’s truly beneficial to seniors.

    However, any time any government agency offers “free” anything to anyone, take a big step back and question every facet of what the government is really offering and what happens if and when they screw up your tax returns. Do you think for one second that the IRS is going waive any additional taxes and penalties owed as a result of an incompetently done tax return? Do you think the IRS is really going to go the extra mile to make sure you’re getting every tax deduction you’re legally entitled to under the law? If not, and you would be right in thinking that way, then that “free” tax preparation from the IRS isn’t such a good deal after all.

    Just a thought.

  2. Tony Curbelo says:

    Hi,
    I live in Las Vegas, NV.
    I am not too happy with the person that does my taxes.
    Can someone help me with my taxes without cost?
    Thank you,

  3. p battaglia says:

    how can residents of New Jersey use this program.

  4. p battaglia says:

    as a resident of New Jersey, how can I take advantage of this. thank you.

  5. Ed Straub says:

    I just wonder what the tax rates are in Heaven? That’s where I’m going! Oh, I’m no one special but Jesus Christ is and I will be with Him, because He loved me enough to pay the Full Cost of my Redemption. It’s in the Bible and tells you all about it. Read the Book of Romans. Oh, sorry big government guru’s, it’s only for the politically incorrect. You rich people will have a hard time getting there too, but the other place don’t have Taxes either.

  6. Mark says:

    Are these just for short form tax filings?

  7. RobertNorCal says:

    AMAC is to be commended. This article will be of use and of value in saving time and money to each member and reader of this piece. Additionally, every commentator has included encouraging tips. I am using this article to share with all the addresses I possess so they, too, can learn about AMAC, and about FREE help for their taxes for 2013 and beyond.
    I felt a bit of something when reading Karen Ensworth’s comments. Imagine paying around $100.00 unnecessarily to do your own taxes if, and that is key, if her income is under the qualifying $57,000 (of which many people are). Let this source of information be an example of what AMAC does for its members each week. In effect, “There is always something for everyone.” Plus the fact that, as we grow in membership – which I heartily encourage – our representation in Washington will have much more clout. I understand we are nearing our first Million member. Great news! Cheers to all my fellow members across this great nation. God bless America!

    • Karen Ensworth says:

      Robert, yes, I do qualify ….. I am retired (health reasons) and draw $1200.00 a month social security retirement. My little dog and this 64 yr. old don’t require much to live on but it still angers me to waste money. I’m thinking of trying to just do it without Turbo Tax, this year, due to the fact that I’m not working any more so I won’t have all the confusing forms to fill out. I used to travel from state to state working out of the courthouses so each tax season was a nightmare for me…..self employed, working from different states, etc.
      Thank you for your kind thoughts of my plight.
      Karen Ensworth

  8. sebby says:

    I notice that that program is not in Connecticut; how can I take advantage of the program?

  9. Frank Pfohl says:

    I have worked for TaxAide for 7 years as well as for H&R Block for 10 years. I have since retired from H&R Block and continue to work with TaxAide as not only a counselor but a trainer for other counselors. It is a good program and free to anyone seeking to get their taxes done. As Judith Drewry has stated there are some out of scope items we can not do. I would suggest anyone needing tax preparation go to TaxAide first to find out if they can do your taxes. We are always looking for people who can do taxes to become counselors as well. Contact your local AARP to get further information.

  10. Doug Nicholson says:

    @Karen Ensworth: I have used the website “TaxAct.com” for the past 5 or 6 years and have been very happy with them. Their price is reasonable…Federal return is free and it’s only about $17.00 for the state return.

    • Karen Ensworth says:

      Thank you Doug! If I understand correctly, Florida only has Federal Returns and no State. I am new to Florida having moved here last August. I retired due to health reasons and am drawing $1200.00 a month, from Social Security. So, if what you have indicated is correct, then I should be able to file for FREE! Wonderful!!
      Thank you, Doug and thanks to AMAC again for this site and for their newsletter.
      Karen Ensworth

  11. Judith Drewry says:

    There is also an excellent program called TaxAide in most places – even our rural area here in Florida. (I have volunteered with them for 8 years.) Even though it is sponsored by the AARP Foundation, many of us do NOT belong to AARP, and no one is required to belong, either to volunteer or to have your taxes done. It is NOT a part of AARP. (My husband and I have been members of AMAC for several years) But the training is EXCELLENT, and so is the service offered. Watch your local newspapers for info on TaxAide. They are now searching for volunteers, and in the winter will publish when and where you may get your taxes done. Some things are “out of scope”, such as rental property, or high business expenses, for most sites, but there is NO LIMIT TO INCOME OR AGE. We get lots of young couples when we first open around Feb 1.

  12. Joe Higgins says:

    Hi. I am interested in learning about free tax prep programs in NY State. I am also curious as to the minimum age for these programs, as I will be turning 60 later this year. Thanks.

  13. Helen Phelps says:

    I am 86 YRS old and always have helped my children in doing there taxes. The program will be available for me but could I do my children too, There are of available age.

  14. Paul says:

    Remember that, no matter who prepares your return, it is YOUR return and should be carefully reviewed before signing.

  15. Cora Ryan says:

    Took our to the local Senior Citizens Center last year. It was free and they did a very good job. Check out your Senior Citizens Center.

  16. Karen Ensworth says:

    The heading caught my eye right away! (Free tax filing for seniors) First of all, I have a hard time trusting our government with my tax return. Then next, I use Turbo Tax and the cost of that software seems to be increasing and increasing! I paid $91.00 + last year …. That’s close to $100 that I need for my bills and food! So, I am VERY interested in finding a better way and I am looking forward to upcoming information in our AMAC newsletter.

    Signed by a concerned Senior Citizen ….. Karen Ensworth, Carrabelle, Florida

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