Free tax help is available online and in person in the Kansas City area this tax filing season for those whose income qualifies them for assistance.
This is the 10th year that free online help is being offered through MyFreeTaxes, a program run by the United Way and H&R Block, the Kansas City-based tax preparation company.
MyFreeTaxes is available to individuals or families who earned less than $66,000 in 2017. It covers both federal and state filing “whether you file in multiple states, work freelance, have a side gig or earn investment income,” according to the MyFreeTaxes website. It limits the number of free state returns to three.
The Internal Revenue Service also offers free online tax preparation for federal taxes through Free File. It provides free access to tax software from various companies and is available for those whose income was below $66,000 last year. Some of the software includes free state filings.
Volunteers working with the IRS and AARP Foundation offer free tax help in person at various sites throughout the Kansas City area.
“They are super-swamped back there,” said Carol Meyers, facility manager for Connecting For Good.
Next Step KC set up the free IRS help in space that Connecting for Good provided at its Linwood and Michigan location. Other Next Step KC sites are part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or VITA, program the IRS offers.
Each VITA site has its own schedule of days and hours when taxpayers can show up and get help preparing their income tax returns. Some require appointments, but many operate on a first-come, first-served basis.
Meyers recommended arriving as close as possible to when a VITA site opens for the day if it doesn’t take appointments. Volunteers can process only so many returns during the hours they work and that line can fill up quickly.
The first couple of weeks of the tax filing season are the busiest, and they’re about to wind down. That may mean more open spots for taxpayers who walk in for help. The last two weeks also will be busy.
VITA tax help is free generally for those with income of $54,000 or less in 2017. In the Kansas City area, the VITA assistance is available for most taxpayers earning $60,000. It also is available to filers with disabilities and filers with limited English.
Information about sites and appointments is available by calling 816-474-5112. The list of 25 VITA sites in the area, their hours and days of operation and other details. There also is a list of the documents and information to bring to the site for help.
The AARP Foundation provides free tax preparation services to residents 50 and older who can’t afford to pay for tax help. Its Tax-Aide website said the help is free to low- and moderate-income taxpayers.
Tax-Aide’s locator listed 41 area sites. That information is available by calling 888-227-7669, which provides an automated voice response, or 888-687-2277 for personal assistance. The site also lists the documents and information taxpayers will need to bring to the site for help.
Many VITA and Tax-Aide sites remain open throughout tax season or into mid-April, but others operate only through the end of February or end next week.