By Nicole Long
There are a variety of options to help you prepare and file your tax return this year.
The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program provides free preparation for filers with incomes of up to $52,000. The Let Us Help You page on the Internal Revenue Services’ website helps answer most tax questions and can help you find a tax preparer. Anyone with a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) can prepare a tax return for a client. However, tax return preparers have differing levels of skills, education and expertise. The IRS searchable directory is intended to help you with your choice by providing a listing of preparers in your area who currently hold professional credentials recognized by the IRS or who hold an Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion. A trusted tax professional can provide helpful information and advice.
The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is a program that offers free tax assistance and preparation for low-to moderate-income taxpayers, at more than 5,000 locations nationwide. To find a location near you, visit the AARP website.
This year the tax filing deadline is April 17, 2018. The reason for the date change is that April 15th falls on a Sunday and April 16th is Emancipation Day, a legal holiday in the District of Columbia. Under the tax law, legal holidays in the District of Columbia affect the filing deadline across the nation. In 2018, 155 million individual tax returns are expected to be filed.
It is important to note that even though the new tax bill, signed by the President, went into effect on January 1, 2018, most Americans will not see changes to their tax returns until they file their 2018 taxes.
During tax season, thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams. Scammers use the regular mail, telephone, or email to scam individuals, businesses and tax professionals. Remember, the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service. More information about scams can be found on the IRS website including what to do if you believe you are a victim of a scam.
About the Author
Nicole Long is the Chief Executive Officer of Old Colony Elder Services (OCES). Founded in 1974, OCES is a private, non-profit organization proudly serving greater Plymouth County and surrounding communities. OCES is designated as one of 26 Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. OCES’ mission is to support the independence and dignity of elders and people with disabilities by providing essential information and services that promote healthy and safe living. The agency offers a number of programs to serve seniors, individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers. For more information call 508-584-1561 or visit www.ocesma.org