United States income tax season begins in late January and ends on April 15, the deadline for filing personal income tax. If April 15 falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the Tax Day deadline is extended to the following Monday. If the tax day deadline falls on a federal holiday, the deadline is extended by one day. This occurred in 2018 when April 15 was on a Sunday, and the following Monday was Emancipation Day, so tax day was moved to Tuesday, April 17, 2018.
2024 U.S. Federal Income Tax filing season
Tax season begins in late January for the previous year. Returns usually must be filed by April 15, but some years the deadline is automatically extended. For example, if April 15 falls on Saturday or Sunday, the deadline is automatically extended to Monday.
The federal tax filing deadline for Tax Year 2023 is Monday, April 15, 2024.
If you expect a refund, file as early as possible. If you expect to owe money to the U.S. Treasury, prepare your return as soon as possible but do not file and pay until the deadline.
If you are new to tax filing or just want help, listed below are several ways to get cheap or free income tax help in Washington state, in Seattle and surrounding cities in the Puget Sound region.
1. Online at IRS.gov. IRS.gov, is a one-stop shop for a wide array of tax information. You can prepare and file your federal tax return online for free through Free File, a service offered by IRS and its partners who make available free tax preparation software and free electronic filing.
2. Where to file simple personal federal tax returns for FREE. Free File is the fast, easy, and free way to prepare and e-file your personal federal taxes online. IRS e-file offers the fastest, safest way for people to receive their personal tax refunds. By using e-file and direct deposit, taxpayers can get their refunds in as few as 10 days. The following are popular ways to file personal federal tax returns for free:
- Use the IRS Free File website to file your income taxes online for free.
- United Way of King County (UWKC) Tax Help. UWKC offers free, virtual tax help to anyone living in Washington State.
- GetYourRefund.org offers free tax preparation services virtually from IRS-certified tax experts.
- H&R Block offers free filing and support for simple tax returns.
- TurboTax Online offers free help for simple tax returns.
3. Free income tax help at public libraries. Puget Sound area libraries offer tax preparation service every tax season. Hours and availability vary from one location to the next. Drop-in service may be available; it is advisable to make an appointment at your local library:
- Everett Public Library tax help
- Kitsap Regional Library tax help
- Pierce County Library tax help
- Seattle Public Library tax help
- Sno-Isle Library tax help
- Tacoma Public Library tax help
4. Telephone. Telephone assistors can help with many topics (but not everything). It’s usually faster to find help online. If you mailed a tax return or letter and haven’t yet heard back, don’t call or file a second return. Check expected wait times for IRS operations: Status of mission-critical functions | Internal Revenue Service.
- If you can’t find help online, find IRS Telephone numbers. Help is available, Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. local time.
5. Taxpayer Assistance Centers in Washington. When you believe your tax issue cannot be handled online or by phone and you want face-to-face assistance, you can find local help at an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center.
6. Free income tax help through AARP at thousands of locations nationwide. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers provide in-person and virtual tax assistance to anyone, free of charge, with a focus on taxpayers who are over 50 and have low to moderate income.
- AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Locator: There are about 90 locations in the Puget Sound region, including libraries and community centers.
7. BIDaWIZ is a great source for affordable and reliable tax advice from licensed business professionals providing finance and accounting services. The advice portion of the service is free to help you identify the best professional for your particular tax situation. Should you need or desire to hire a professional, they can also quote a fee be based on the complexity of the request, the time required to provide the service, the level of expertise required, and any other factors necessary to provide a solution. Typically, obtaining professional advice was expensive and time consuming. You might have to engage in “phone tag”, schedule meetings, and travel, all without the guarantee of obtaining reliable tax advice and information. BIDaWIZ provides a better way, giving you access to licensed and verified business professionals who can reliably suggest the services you need, tailored to your specific tax issues.
8. VITA and TCE programs by the IRS for those who qualify (see below). Get help through VITA or TCA: Free Tax Return Preparation for Qualifying Taxpayers | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov)
- Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) offers free tax help to: people who make $60,000 or less, persons with disabilities, limited English-speaking taxpayers.
- Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) offers free tax help particularly for: people who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors.
Common Errors when Preparing your Income Tax Return
To ensure you meet your tax obligation, file an accurate tax return. One easy way to avoid errors and file an accurate return is to file electronically using IRS Free File. If you make errors on your tax return, it will likely take longer to process and could delay any refund. Here are some common errors that can be avoided by simply reviewing your return before you file or using E-file software:
- Missing or inaccurate Social Security Numbers. Be sure to enter each SSN on a tax return exactly as printed on the Social Security card.
- Misspelled names. Spell all names listed on a tax return exactly as listed on the taxpayers’ Social Security cards.
- Filing status. Some taxpayers claim the wrong filing status, such as Head of Household instead of Single.
- Math errors are common, from simple addition and subtraction to more complex items. Tax preparation software does it automatically.
- Mistakes figuring Earned Income Tax Credit, Child and Dependent Care Credit, the standard deduction and other items. The IRS Interactive Tax Assistant can help determine if a taxpayer is eligible for tax credits or deductions.
- Incorrect bank account numbers. Taxpayers who are due a refund should choose direct deposit for ease and convenience, but the IRS cautions taxpayers to use the right routing and account numbers on the tax return.
- Unsigned forms. An unsigned tax return isn’t valid. Both spouses must sign a joint return.