United Way has tax solutions!
New year, new income tax season – and your United Way of the Lewis & Clark Area, along with our partner agencies, has free solutions to get you your refunds and keep you in the good graces of the IRS and Montana Department of Revenue.
The first option is our free online filing service, MyFreeTaxes.com. Unlike a lot of the services you see advertised that claim to be free as long as you don’t have anything unusual in your taxes, MyFreeTaxes is really free with no surprises. It’s easy to use, walking you through the process step-by-step in plain language so you don’t need to be a CPA to prepare your own taxes. And your refund can be deposited quickly into the bank account of your choice, or you can receive a check in the mail if you prefer. It is a simple and straightforward process!
MyFreeTaxes.com opens on January 18 so you can get a jump on preparing if you want, and the IRS will begin accepting forms on January 24.
Our second option is volunteer tax assistance through Rural Dynamics (RDI). Details on when and where you can drop off your tax documents are still being worked out, but there will be several “front door” locations that will quickly go through your forms to ensure you have everything you need, then scan them to send electronically to a trained specialist that will go through the process for you. The United Way recently sat down with Chastity Roofner, who oversees the process for RDI, in one of our recent partner spotlights on Helena Civic Television – you can view that video online at https://www.helenacivictv.org/on-demand/3243, or on television at HCTV channel 189.
A few tips to consider:
- File early! The vast majority of tax filers get a refund (especially if your last name isn’t Bezos, Musk or Trump), so don’t put it off until the last minute. Get your money back as soon as possible! This is especially helpful if you want to use RDI’s services, as it better ensures you will be able to get an appointment, and to get all your paperwork processed before the deadline.
- If you do end up being one of the rare people who ends up owing, filing early doesn’t mean you have to pay early. It does mean you can know what you owe, so that you can make any arrangements in plenty of time before the deadline. And just because you sort out what you owe doesn’t mean you have to file a thing until you’re ready. On MyFreeTaxes.com, for example, you can complete all your forms, see what you owe, but wait you’re fully ready to submit. Everything will wait for you online until you choose to take the last steps and submit.
- Give MyFreeTaxes a try before considering RDI. Every year, RDI has a limited number of volunteers available to complete taxes, and so appointments are limited as well. If you are able to complete your taxes online, that opens up appointments for others. And if you get into MyFreeTaxes and it turns out your situation does require RDI, that’s okay – both services are free and so you’ve lost nothing by trying MyFreeTaxes first.
- If you try MyFreeTaxes.com and don’t like the results you get, that’s okay. You can submit your completed MyFreeTaxes.com forms as part of your package to RDI, to see if you made a mistake. Then you can still choose if you want to submit the forms you completed on MyFreeTaxes.com, or have RDI file on your behalf.
- Help is available regardless of which route you take. MyFreeTaxes will have assistance available beginning January 24 if you run into questions or issues. That’s a right, a real person to talk you through the process. RDI’s volunteers are also willing to answer any tax questions, regardless of which service you choose.
Additionally, AARP returns this year to provide tax help at the Helena Senior Citizen Center, 200 Cruse Ave. They will be providing services from Feb. 5 thru April 9. You can call 406-457-7301 (after Jan. 18) for more information or to schedule an appointment.