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 10 ways to get free help with taxes from a real live person.
Where to Get Free Tax Help
Get Free Tax Help from H&R Block
What it is: H&R Block has a variety of tax tools and resources available on their website. There’s also a tax preparation tool that walks you through the steps, with live experts standing by to help over the phone.
How it works: Visit H&R Block’s website to find the tax filing tool that is relevant to your business. Actually filing your return does come with a cost, unless you have a very simple return, but help from a tax prep expert is included for free. Simply request a chat or call as you work on your return to get your questions asked.
Where To Find: Just go to H&R Block’s website to get started. The company also has brick and mortar locations around the country, but you’ll likely need to pay for an appointment.
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 meet various income requirements. Not only can they give you free advice, but they may also be able to steer you towards different tax credits.
How it works: Start by finding your local human services agency online. Then you can contact them or make an appointment to discuss any family or personal tax credits that make a difference to your return.
Where to find: Every local service agency has different offerings, so start at this directory or perform an online search specific to your area.
United Way Tax Service
What it is: United Way is a non-profit organization that offers free tax help and filing in many communities around the country.
How it works: Every local office is different, so you’ll need to find your local branch to find a tax professional who can help. In many cases, they’ll offer guidance and help you actually file as well.
Where to find: Start by locating the United Way branch closest to you. You can either do this online or by calling 211.
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: The organization’s website includes a feature that lets you find tax professionals near you. You might have to do some research with this one, since not everyone will necessarily provide a free consultation. But you may be able to get some valuable advice, especially if you’re willing to pay a filing fee.
Where to find: Start with the NATP’s website and then move onto the information about your local tax professionals.
IRS Free File Alliance
What it is: This is a service that is open to all Americans who meet low income requirements, which change from year to year. In 2019, you need to have an adjusted gross income of $69,000 or less. 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 can then search for tax filers who submit their offers to help.
Where to find: Start at the IRS Free File website and then you’ll be able to browse through offers and go directly to the tax pro’s website to finish the process. You can also reach out to the IRS directly for specific questions. Call 1-800-829-1040 for individual tax questions or 1-800-829-4933 for business-related tax questions.
What it is: The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program is available to individuals who meet income requirements. It consists of volunteer tax professionals throughout the country who offer their services under the IRS umbrella.
How it works: You go through the IRS to find a volunteer. Then you work with them to get help preparing and even filing your taxes.
Where to find: You can simply enter your location on the IRS website to find a volunteer near you.
What it is: TurboTax is a popular tax filing software that is also available online. There are both free and paid versions to help you prepare your return. Then a real CPA reviews your return for free.
How it works: You simply walk through the process of filling out your own return and submit it. Then a CPA automatically reviews it to make sure you’re not missing anything.
Where to find: Start at TurboTax’s website to find the tax filing solution that works best for you. Then it will walk you through the process of filling out your return.
Taxpayer Advocate Service
What it is: The IRS’s Taxpayer Advocate Service is there to help individuals with tax related issues. They won’t file your form for you. But they can help you with specific questions or issues with your forms.
How it works: The organization’s website offers plenty of resources and answers to questions. And if you don’t see what you’re looking for, you can contact the agency directly.
Where to find: Visit the Taxpayer Advocate Service’s website to find your local office. Then you can reach out to them directly.
Get Free Tax Help from AARP Foundation
What it is: The AARP Foundation offers free tax assistance to members who qualify. The program operates through an IRS-approved group of volunteers, who AARP can help you easily connect with.
How it works: Go through AARP to find a volunteer in your area. They can then help you fill out your return and submit it to the IRS.
Where to find: Find a volunteer in your area on AARP’s website. Or contact your local AARP office directly.
What it is: Tax Counseling for the Elderly is a program of volunteers that also operate under the IRS umbrella. They’re normally located at community centers like libraries and schools.
How it works: You search through the IRS to find a program in your area. Services are available to people of all ages. But they specifically focus on those over 60 and those who have to navigate retirement or pension related issues.
Where to find: Start at the IRS website to perform a search. Then you can find a volunteer center in your local community to get help in person.