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Free Tax Help for Eligible Taxpayers

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The IRS offers free tax help to people with low to moderate income, senior citizens, and military personnel and their families.
 
Programs for eligible taxpayers include:
          Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) – Certified volunteers help prepare basic returns for those with an income of approximately $49,000 or less. Call 1-800-829-1040 to locate the nearest VITA site.
           Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) – Trained volunteers provide free tax counseling and basic income tax return preparation for those who are aged 60 and older. As part of the TCE program, AARP offers Tax-Aide counseling to help people of low-to-middle income. For more information about TCE, call 1-800-829-1040.
           Military Personnel – Military personnel and their families are eligible for free tax preparation assistance at offices within their installations. Volunteers at these VITA sites are trained to address military-specific tax issues.
 
Items you need to bring to the VITA/TCE sites to have your tax returns prepared
  • Proof of identification
  • Social Security Cards for you, your spouse and dependents and/or a Social Security Number verification letter issued by the Social Security Administration
  • Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents on the tax return
  • Current year’s tax package if you received one
  • Wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, from all employers
  • Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
  • A copy of last year’s federal and state returns if available
  • Bank routing numbers and account numbers for Direct Deposit
  • Total paid for daycare provider and the daycare provider's tax identifying number (the provider's Social Security Number or the provider's business Employer Identification Number)
  • To file taxes electronically on a married-filing-joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.
It is extremely important that each person use the correct Social Security Number. The most accurate information is usually located on your original Social Security card.  Each year hundreds of thousands of returns are delayed in processing, or credit/deductions are disallowed because names and Social Security Numbers do not match Social Security Administration records.  To prevent processing delays in paper returns and rejected electronically filed returns, volunteers check the accuracy of each Social Security Number, as well as the spelling of the name associated with the number.  If you do not have an SSN for you or a dependent, you should complete Form SS-5, Social Security Number Application. 
 
This form should be submitted to the nearest Social Security Administration Office.
 
If you or your dependent is not eligible to get a Social Security Number, you may need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
 
To become a VITA Volunteer: http://www.volunteerhouston.org/
 
There are payment options available when using IRS e-file. 
If you owe, you can make a payment (by April 15) by authorizing an electronic funds withdrawal (direct debit) from a checking or savings account, paying by credit (Discover Card®, American Express®, MasterCard® or VISA® Card), or by check or money order (payable to the United States Treasury) using Form 1040-V, Payment Voucher.
 
The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program offers free income tax preparation and filing to the approximately 67,000 families in the Houston area who qualify for assistance.
Taxpayers can find a listing of the 26 VITA locations by calling 2-1-1 or 713-957-4357 or visiting www.houstonassetbuilding.org.
 
PLEASE remember Haiti:
The U.S. government and relief organizations are helping with the relief effort, but your help is also welcome. Here are a few options for offering assistance:
• Contribute online through ClintonBushHaitiFund.org.
• Text “QUAKE” to 20222 to charge a $10 donation to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.
• Find more ways to help at usaid.gov/Haiti.
Haiti relief donations given to qualifying charities before March 1, 2010 can be claimed as charitable contributions on your 2009 tax return.
 
Contact James Hamilton: jhamilton31@comcast.net Or find me atTwitter   Houston’s Workplace Examiner   LinkedIN MySpace  
 
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