Finding Tax Assistance

As I said in my last article, ‘Tis the season! Tax season. Yuck!

Filing taxes with a disability

Taxes are miserable enough to file whomever you may be, but what do you do if you have a disability? And even worse, what do you do if you have a disability and cannot afford to hire a pricy accountant? I have done a little research that might answer that question for you.

Free tax counseling!

Dailycaring has a nice - and current article about getting free help to file your taxes. In Tax Time is here again they start by going right to the source of our misery. The IRS! I guess the thought is, if they keep asking for our money, at least they should help us hand it over; yes?

The first bit of support suggested by Dailycaring was Tax Counseling for the Elderly. While it says it is for the elderly, the page suggests they will help young girls and guys like us🥴 but their target audience is over 60. They specialize in questions about retirement and pensions. You should note, however, I don’t see any mention of hands-on help - maybe? Anyway, let’s keep reading.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) is said to offer help to those earning less than $56,000 a year. They will work with those who have disabilities and limited English. They help with basic income tax filings and e filing. The VITA program works through local centers and opens at the beginning of February.

Of course, when I went to their site, there was a COVID-19 disclaimer. They may not open this year. Also, I used the service center locator and it could not find any VITA center within 100 miles of my Central Pennsylvania location. We are rural, but not that rural!

It may be that the federal government will not be the best of help.

AARP

AgingCare in their article entitled Free Tax Help for Seniors suggests the American Association of Retired People. The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Offers free tax preparation. I tried to get on the site and ran into a snag. They are not open for business until February 1. Because the AARP service is actually an in-person service, it involves local volunteers at local sites. They may need time to gather their forces. Just the same, remember we are in the middle of a pandemic and they might not find any volunteers either.

Office for Aging and Disability

The last suggestion from the AgingCare people was to check with your local aging office. They might be able to steer you to a service that could help you either for free or a very low cost.

Editor's Note: Learn more about services provided to support individuals living with disabilities or over the age of 60 in the article:What is the Office of Aging?.

Local resources

Another of my thoughts on the matter would be to check with a local university or community college. Last year several universities within 50 miles of my location offered free tax preparation by their accounting students. You might be able to find one near you.

Professional tax preparer

And if you have to go with a professional tax preparer? Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount. I found a 25% off coupon for H&R Block online. I would assume other companies offer similar discounts.

Hopefully, those ideas will give you a start on your search to find tax preparation help. Tax season hurts. It should not hurt more because we have disabilities!

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