Personal Finance

How to get free help with your taxes online or in-person in KC

Many taxpayers would qualify for free tax assistance available online and in person in the Kansas City area through various programs.
Many taxpayers would qualify for free tax assistance available online and in person in the Kansas City area through various programs. Bloomberg News

Free tax help is still available online and in several Kansas City area locations as this year’s later-than-usual April 18 filing deadline approaches.

Uncle Sam has extended the filing deadline this year beyond the traditional April 15 date. The extended deadline is thanks in part to April 15 being a Saturday and an 1862 act Abraham Lincoln signed that keeps Internal Revenue Service offices closed the following Monday.

This tax season is the ninth that United Way and H&R Block have teamed up to provide MyFreeTaxes to filers whose adjusted gross income was $64,000 or less. For help with understanding whether you qualify, go to unitedway.org/myfreetaxes/ or call 855-698-9435.

“We like it because it serves households who make under $64,000 ... and that encompasses 70 percent of the taxpayers in the U.S.,” said Julie Riddle, senior manager of community impact for the United Way of Greater Kansas City.

Their effort to provide the free online service has helped more than 750,000 taxpayers.

Free File is a separate program that provides access to a dozen branded tax software products through the IRS. The companies that provide the software set different standards for who qualifies for the free software, but taxpayers who earned $64,000 or less will be eligible for at least one.

The IRS said 50 million users have taken advantage of the FreeFile program since 2003.

Each year, qualified tax volunteers in the Kansas City area also provide free help in person through various programs.

The IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or VITA program, provides free tax service to households that earned less than $54,000. Here’s what to take with you.

VITA’s online locator found 16 sites in the Kansas City area and provided additional information such as the days and hours they’re available, a phone number and whether an appointment is needed.

The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program provides free help filing taxes to anyone over 50 and who can’t afford a tax preparation service.

AARP’s website lists about 40 Tax-Aide locations in the Kansas City area, along with information about day and times the sites are open, whether the location is handicap accessible, if help for non-English speaking filers is available and more. Location information also is available from AARP at 888-687-2277, and for TTY callers at 877-434-7598.

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide has relied on volunteers to help nearly 50 million filers since 1968.

The United Way of Greater Kansas City also will help callers find the area’s free tax help sites and understand which forms they need to take with them. Contact the United Way’s helpline by dialing 211 or 816-474-5112.

Mark Davis: 816-234-4372, @mdkcstar

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