Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Free Tax Help Saturday

Free tax preparation will be available for people earning $42,000 or less this Saturday, March 21, straight from the source itself, the Internal Revenue Service. Such help could be especially valuable for new homeowners -- often buying a home moves you from the simple Form 1040-EZ to the much more complex Form 1040. And this year, tax credits for new buyers could add an additional layer of paperwork.

You can get assistance from more than 250 local IRS offices, which usually don't work weekends, plus about 1,000 community tax-prep volunteer partners. Go to the IRS Web site to find an office near you.

IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman, in a printed statement, also urged taxpayers in financial trouble to seek help from the IRS, regardless of their income. "If you think you owe taxes and can't pay, please come in and talk to us about it. There are steps we can take to help." Those steps might include an installment payment plan or a deferred payment plan. Calling the IRS can help people avoid incurring the extra penalties and interest that make it more difficult to catch up with your tax bill.

The new tax credit for first-time home buyers is only one of the measures that can make filing this year's return more complicated than you're used to. Folks at the IRS say they expect job losses to make more people eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which results in an average benefit of $2,000 to those who qualify.

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