Tax season can be stressful for small business owners. There’s all the receipts you need to get together and that’s usually just a slice of the other invoices, documents and data that needs to be corralled and made sense of. Sometimes you just need to talk with someone who knows where a piece or two fits into the bigger puzzle.
If you’re in that position, here’s 9 ways to get free help with taxes from a real live person.
Where to Get Free Tax Help
What it is: There’s a variety of well-respected tax preparation companies that offer phone numbers that you can call to ask questions. For example, H&R Block has a comprehensive tax center on their website.
How it works: Follow the link provided to the Tax Tools and Tax Tips section and then click on the tab for the Help Center. If you scroll down a bit farther once you hit that page you’ll see a live support phone number.
Where To Find: If you’re looking for a brick-and-mortar location where you can go in and ask a question, there’s a link right here.
Human Services Agencies
What it is: Human services agencies in different municipalities and locations will offer free tax help from real people for those who earn under a certain amount as a family. Not only can they give you free advice but also help steer you towards different tax credits.
How it works: Finding the right human service agency where you live is a good start. Begin your search right here. They will be able to direct you to any family or personal tax credits that make a difference to your return.
Where to find: There’s only one drawback here and that’s these are mostly government agencies that will work 9 to 5 hours. If you take a quick look at this one for San Francisco, you’ll see there’s even a general inquiry number that can point you in the right direction.
United Way Tax Service
What it is: This is another online tax service but this one is from the United Way. Although the one that you can follow through this link is for the California area, there are others for your particular location. This system will point you in the direction of free tax tax service where you can ask questions.
How it works: Basically, all you need is your postal code to get started. You can even select languages and a radius from that starting point to find the help nearest to you.
Where to find: If you’re looking for this kind of free tax help from a real person, you can start out at the United Way’s main website. Check out the Find Your United Way tab in the far top corner.
Tax Advice Portals
What it is: These are online portals where you can ask a tax question and have it answered usually within 24 hours from a variety of participating accountants.
How it works: It’s as simple as it sounds. You just fill out an online form and write out your question in general and you’ll get an answer back. Make no mistake, these portals are about selling the accountants’ services but you will get some free information and maybe some fee quotes to play off each other at the same time.
Where to find: Here’s an example of one of these portals. However, it caters to a UK audience so you’ll want to conduct your own online search.
What it is: This is an online site where people share knowledge, ask questions and get answers on a variety of different subjects for free. It’s not necessarily the right spot to get quality professional answers because it’s open to everyone and not just accountants. However, this is a great place to ask questions about where you can find free tax advice and get good leads.
How it works: Getting started is simple. You can search through the different spaces for questions that have already been answered or submit your own with an easy tab.
Where to find: You can start using Quora simply by following this link
What it is: The National Association of Tax Professionals is a comprehensive membership site for accountants and other kinds of tax preparers. It’s a good place to find out who the professionals are in your area since many accountants offer an initial consultation.
How it works: There are several ways that you can use this website to your advantage including a live chat and a 1-800 number. If you’re out in front of your tax deadline far enough, you can place a classified ad looking for help.
Where to find: The NATP website can be found right here.
Just Answer Tax
What it is: This is another online portal where you can ask a tax question and get answers from professionals in the industry.
How it works: Questions can be asked through a chat box and you’re able to see how many professionals are online to answer your questions right away. The website says that you can get help 24 hours a day seven days a week. Although it’s not a free service, there is a Q&A section where some popular tax questions are answered in that format for free.
Where to find: You can use some of the enrolled agents and certified public accountants on this website here.
IRS Free File Alliance
What it is: This is a service that is open to all Americans who made less than $66,000 a year. Basically, it’s a group of companies that offer free online filing under the IRS banner.
How it works: You need to go through the free file website to access the company’s platform. You’ll get a good deal but only if you click on the affiliate link. These types of sites will also allow you to find some contact info to ask questions.
Where to find: You can find useful information about the IRS Free File Alliance and some good contact information on the Internet.
What it is: You can find just about everything you need on social media these days including free tax help. Twitter is a great place to ask specific questions using the right hashtag.
How it works: You can start a search using your own account or even do a Google search using geographically tagged keywords that will get you Twitter results in your locale.
Where to find: If you start by doing a quick search at the top of your own Twitter account and using keywords like free tax help, you’ll come across places like this where you can either ask a question or scroll down to find answers.