Families in our community that are financially secure are less dependent on social services and are able to focus on work, children, and more. Free tax help services help put deserved money back in the pockets of local individuals and families. People use this money to pay their rent and mortgage, buy groceries, pay for child support, start a savings account, and much more. Federal tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and State of Montana credits like the Elderly Homeowner/Renter Credit (2EC) help people build their financial stability.
The Lewis and Clark County Free Tax Help Coalition works together to administer Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA),Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) and American Association of Retired People (AARP) Tax-Aide free tax sites here in the Helena community. These free tax assistance programs provide low to moderate income earners (<$66,000 combined income), individuals with disabilities, and elderly individuals with free tax preparation by IRS certified volunteer tax preparers. For more information on the programs, visit www.montanafreefile.org.
Want to stay at home and do your taxes in your pajamas for free? If you have a household income under $60,000, you can! Visit www.myfreetaxes.com.
2018 Lewis and Clark Co. Sites
Come back soon to learn about all the local free tax help sites in the Helena area. Free tax help sites include the Lewis and Clark Library, the Helena Senior Center at Rocky Mountain Development Council’s Neighborhood Center, Lewis & Clark Library, Helena College, Helena Food Share, Good Samaritan Thrift Store and Ministries, and East Helena Methodist Church. Appointments and Walk-In locations available. Times and appointment requirements vary.
Information on free tax sites statewide are available at www.montanafreefile.org.
AM I ELIGIBLE?
IRS-certified volunteers are able to provide tax assistance to individuals and families completing basic tax returns. For more information on eligibility, click here. Preparers cannot prepare complicated returns with:
- Schedule C with losses
- Complicated Schedule D
- Schedules E or F
- Forms SS-5, SS-8, 8606, or 8615/8814
- Parts 4 & 5 of Form 8962
- Any income tax returns beyond the
WHAT SHOULD I BRING TO MY APPOINTMENT?
Items to bring include:
- A valid photo ID for you and your spouse (if married filing jointly). For married filing jointly, both spouses must be present.
- Social Security cards or ITIN notices/cards for all individuals on tax return
- Birth dates for all individuals on tax return
- All Forms W-2, 1099, and information for any other income
- Information for all deductions and credits
- Form 1095-A, B or C (ACA statements) from insurer
- Total paid to child care provider and their tax ID number
- Copy of prior year tax return
- Proof of account for refund direct deposit or proof of account for electronic funds withdrawal
Remember, everyone will have different circumstances. It is important to bring all tax documents. Click here for a comprehensive list.
WHY FREE TAX HELP?
In 2017, VITA, TCE and AARP volunteer tax preparers in Lewis and Clark County completed 1082 federal and 936 state tax returns, helping local families realize financial refunds of $845,629, including 207 EITC and 54 Child Tax Credit refunds. These sites help eligible community members capture these and other important federal and state tax credits, which help community members build income stability by putting needed dollars back into their pockets.
WHAT IS THE EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT?
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a federal tax credit for low- and moderate- income working people. Only four out of five people who are eligible for the EITC claim it.
Am I eligible for the EITC?
The EITC is called one of the most effective federal anti-poverty programs in our country. The EITC and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) both greatly reduce poverty for working families. These working-family tax credits lifted 9.4 million people out of poverty in 2013, including 5 million children and helped 22 million other people build their income stability. These are big numbers and big impact. You can find out if you are eligible for the EITC here.
What about other tax credits?
There are many tax credits that you may be eligible for. Find out more about federal tax credits and State of Montana tax credits, so that you can take advantage of all the credits that you may be eligible for!
Here are just a few of the partners in the community that make free tax help possible:
- AARP – Montana
- Montana Dept. of Revenue
- Montana Legal Services Association – Low Income Taxpayer Clinic
- Retired Senior Volunteer Program
- Rural Dynamics, Inc.
- United Way of the Lewis and Clark Area
Volunteer to use your talents to help fellow Montanans file their taxes free of charge and claim often overlooked credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit (CTC), Elderly Homeowner/Renter, Property Tax Assistance Program, and more.
There are many opportunities to volunteer at a tax site in the Helena area. You do not need to be a tax expert- you just need a willingness and interest to learn. A variety of volunteer jobs are available, including tax preparer, greeter and intake specialist, and more. To learn how you can become a VITA volunteer, click here.