For years, Cathy Justice paid an accountant to prepare and file her taxes, but when she heard about a free tax preparation service offered by the AARP Foundation, she decided to give it a try.
Justice was so impressed with the service she received that she is now a regular client of the AARP Foundation's Tax-Aide program, and she hasn't paid an accountant in the past several years.
Before you go …
Here's a checklist of items taxpayers should bring with them:
- Last year's tax return.
- Social Security cards for everyone who is on the return or other official documents.
- W2s, 1099 statements that may include interest, dividends, capital gains and any stock transactions.
- Interest forms from banks, Social Security statements and anything else related to income.
- Listing of out-of-pocket medical bills paid and medical mileage records.
- Property tax statements.
- Home loan interest and tax statements.
- Charitable contributions and volunteer mileage records.
- Unemployment statements.
- Gambling winning and loss records and anything else that may refers to taxes.
Other people may need to bring in other documents, such as foreclosure papers, casualty losses, cancellation of debts and Health Savings Account records.
Spicer said most people can have their returns finished in one visit. Most can be done in one to two hours if the site takes appointments. If the site doesn't take appointments, the waiting is what takes the most time.
Natalie Gott is a freelance writer based in Chapel Hill, N.C.