Finding tax help can be confusing and frustrating, especially in the United States where the tax code is extremely confusing, and gets only worse each year. There are attorneys everywhere. Not to mention websites claiming to offer help, neighbours and friends who used to work as tax attorneys, family members who offer to lend a hand with answering questions and many prying questions for us, and numerous others offering their services. Where do you turn? Here’s a step-by-step list of what to do when seeking tax help:
1. Gather all of your tax- or job-related documentation. That includes standard tax forms from your employer (W2, 1099, etc.), bank statements, invoices, receipts, and tax documents from previous years, and your social security number or tax ID. Some tax payers put all their documents into an envelope marked with that year, and then everything is together in one place.
2. Go to the IRS website. Who else can you trust when looking for tax help, than the source itself? You can get IRS tax help by calling 1(800)829-1040 for general help or 1(800)829-3676 to receive free tax forms and directions.
3. Call the IRS and make an appointment to meet face-to-facer with someone who can help you. Believe it or not, the IRS would rather help you catch mistakes now rather than later.
4. Then, after getting all you can from the trustworthy IRS, you can be more readily prepared for possibly misleading or incorrect advice from other companies, universities, community, church or fraternal programs that offer free or inexpensive tax help. Community programs are usually staffed by volunteers in public places such as libraries and shopping malls. And if you’re elderly or retired, you can also benefit greatly from many tax help resources such as the AARP and VITA/TCE (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance/Tax Counselling for the Elderly) on military bases.
5. Then seek out a trustworthy CPA (certified public accountant). Have you questions organized ready for that first visit with him, which might be free.
6. Do your taxes online to save money, frustration, time and effort. The largest online software has help built in for people just like us.
The above resources are usually free or inexpensive and are excellent to help you get started with tax help. Then make sure you check all the numbers and ask questions to make sure you make as few mistakes as possible and understand as much of the process as possible.