United States income tax season begins in 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.)
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. 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:
- Sno-Isle Library tax help
- Seattle Public Library tax help
- King County Library (search their calendar for ‘tax help’)
- Pierce County Library tax help
2. 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.
3. Telephone. Contact IRS Live Telephone Assistance at the following numbers, Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
- Individuals: Toll-Free, 1-800-829-1040
- Businesses: Toll-Free, 1-800-829-4933
- Exempt Organizations, Retirement Plan Administrators, and people with hearing impairments: Toll-Free 1-800-829-4059 (TDD)
4. 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 help at a Local Office in Washington or find your local IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center.
5. For those who qualify: VITA and TCE programs. Free tax preparation is available through the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Programs. The programs offer free tax help for taxpayers who qualify.
- The VITA Program generally offers free tax help to people who make $51,000 or less and need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. Find a VITA Site Near You.
- The TCE Program offers free tax help for all with priority assistance to people who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement issues unique to seniors
6. BIDaWIZ is a great source for FREE 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.
7. Where to file 1040EZ federal tax returns for FREE. Free File is the fast, easy, and free way to prepare and e-file your federal taxes online. IRS e-file offers the fastest, safest way for people to receive their tax refunds. By using e-file and direct deposit, taxpayers can get their refunds in as few as 10 days. Here’s where to file 1040EZ federal tax returns for free:
- Use the IRS Free File website to file your income taxes online for free.
- Use H&R Block for free filing and free support for simple returns.
- Use TurboTax Online for free filing of 1040EZ and 1040A forms.
Common Errors when Preparing your Income Tax Return
To ensure you meet your tax obligation, file an accurate tax return. If you make errors on your tax return, it will likely take longer to process and could delay any refund. Click here for a list of the most common errors filers make when preparing a tax return.
One easy way to avoid errors and file an accurate return is to file electronically using IRS Free File.