When You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

“Huh! I didn’t know that,” is a phrase that I have used many times in my life. In a world with a constant flow of information that is so easily accessible, I sometimes think I know more about something than I do; which my young adult children take great delight in pointing out. I will be the first to admit that I know nothing about coding, auto repair, engineering, or managing a room full of students. However, I do enjoy the puzzle of the tax code and understanding how to find the answers that I may not know; I am happy to be able to share that information with you! So, without further ado, here are some filing options that you may not be aware of. Click on the links for more information about each option.

IRS.gov Free File
– Allows you to file your tax return for free through services like TurboTax, H&R Block, and Taxslayer
– Each company provides free federal and state tax prep and efiling options
– Direct deposit of your refund is available

Recommended for:
– Those who make $66,000 or less in a year
– High school and college students who have W-2 income only

– Watch the dependency status when the kids file their own returns
– Be sure everyone knows who is a dependent and who is not

Fillable Forms Electronic Filing
– Allows you to file your federal tax return for free
– Covers filing for everything from a Sole Proprietor business to rental properties and household employees

Recommended for:
– Those over the income limit for the previously mentioned free file
– Those looking to save money and are comfortable with the basics of the income tax code

– If you are new to being self-employed or owning rental properties, this is not recommended
– Keeping up on the tax code changes can be a full-time job
– Filing your return this way requires you to ensure your own compliance

VITA/TCE Program
– Provides volunteers who are trained by the IRS to provide free tax prep
– Includes actual in-person locations that are trained to handle basic tax prep including earned income tax credit, child tax credits, and education credits

Recommended for:
– Those earning under $55,000 or less, are disabled, or are over the age of 60
– Those who are not comfortable processing their own information online

– This program does not handle complex investment income, businesses or medical insurance premium tax credits

You’re probably asking yourself: “Why would they share options that could undercut their practice?” Good question. The simple answer is: Our job is to help ensure that taxpayers are meeting their filing requirements. Sure, we could use a gimmicky marketing scheme to figure out ways to charge everyone a few extra dollars, but that is not how we choose to do business. We understand that WE are the benefits of our service. Not only our knowledge of the tax code, but our unique perspective on small businesses and the way that they function. We understand that when you stop by with a quick question, it is important that we take a few moments to meet with you if we are able. Taking the time to get to know you, your mindset, your family, and your goals is what our practice thrives on. Our job is to know what you don’t know that you don’t know.

My Free Advice: Check out the different Free File options available to you. Decide what is best for you, free filing or having a personal consultant and make the best choice for you. 

Check back next week for some guidance on what to do when an IRS notice arrives.

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