Many of us who have found taxes to be taxing and did not have the resources to visit a professional tax preparer depended upon the IRS to prepare our returns. Now that day has come to a close.
Beginning this year, the IRS will no longer prepare returns. To seek free return preparation, you will need to contact a VITA/TCE site or use other local resources that prepare returns for free.
This change comes on the heels of other changes, such as limited information available through the 800 customer service, that will adversely affect low income taxpayers whose returns in recent years face more scrutiny than those of higher income taxpayers.
VITA sites are prevalent, however, they may have hours that may not necessarily be conducive to a low income taxpayer's working hours, assuming a walk in VITA location.
In addition, due to these changes, many of the individuals that previously visited the IRS will make their way there, making it more difficult due to what I anticipate may be long waiting times for service if volunteers are scarce.
It appears that these changes will send low income taxpayers into the arms of paid preparers due to their convenience and flexibility. Though I would not recommend it, one can drop off their info with a paid preparer. Many offices are open seven days a week and are open before and after working hours.
Finally, if you are faced with having to use a paid preparer, try to obtain as much info on the person or firm as you can, especially if the preparer is not affiliated with a well known firm. Check Google for as much info as you can to avoid an identity theft situation.