It’s tax time! If you make a modest income, you don’t have to go it alone.
Here are some sources of help.
• MyFreeTaxes.com. This website offers free online tax prep software to households earning less than $58,000 per year. Free software from H&R Block will help you do your federal and state returns. If you get stuck, you can call its help line at (855) 698-9435 or visit a tax help center, such as Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Niagara.
• Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Niagara. Consumers who earn less than $58,000 can visit its Niagara Family Center at 1522 Main St. in Niagara Falls for tax help. It has open hours in February and March from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays and from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays. It’s closed Feb. 12 and March 19.
The center will not prepare taxes for you, but it will answer questions to help you file yourself. For more information, call 299-0911.
• KeyBank and Belmont Housing Resources of Western New York will host a “Super Refund Saturday” this Saturday, offering free federal income tax preparation to low- and moderate-income wage earners in Western New York.
The event at Belmont Housing Resources of Western New York, 1195 Main St. in Buffalo, goes from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Banking professionals also will help tax filers determine their eligibility and apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit. You do not have to be KeyBank customers to participate, but an appointment is required. Call 884-7791.
Belmont Housing Resources also offers walk-in hours from 2 to 7 p.m. every Thursday.
• The University at Buffalo School of Management. IRS-certified accounting students will offer free tax prep for those with a total household income of less than $51,000. Help is offered on a first-come, first-served basis in 100 Allen Hall from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday and Feb. 15, 16, 22 and 23, and March 1, 2, 8 and 9.
• The VITA Program. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program offers free, basic tax prep help for individuals and families with a combined household income of less than $52,000. IRS-certified volunteers will prepare basic returns – with an eye out for special tax credits such as Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled – and file them electronically.
To find a VITA site, call (800) 906-9887 or visit www.irs.gov. There are 33 VITA locations around Western New York at community centers, churches, libraries, schools and public agencies, including 16 in Buffalo.
• Tax counseling for senior citizens. IRS-certified volunteers who specialize in senior-specific questions about things such as pensions and retirement, provide free tax help for people age 60 and older. To find a TCE volunteer, call (800) 906-9887 or go to www.aarp.org/money/taxes/aarp_taxaide and click on the “AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Locator” in the middle of the page. Nearly 35 libraries and senior citizens centers across Western New York host TCE volunteers.
• Paper tax forms and booklets. Since the IRS is pushing everyone to file their taxes online, paper tax forms are getting harder to find. You can still get them at the library but, because of the government shutdown, they won’t arrive until mid-February. To have forms and instructions mailed to you, call (800) 829-3676 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
You also can also print federal income tax paper forms at www.irs.gov (click on the “forms and pubs” tab at the top of the page) and state income tax paper forms at www.tax.ny.gov/pit/file/packet.htm.