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What’s your best tax strategy for 2023? Have highly qualified people do your taxes. For free.
Crazy talk, you say? Not at all. As long as you don’t have a complex return — say, a small business with employees or alternative minimum tax — it’s quite likely you can get your taxes done for free. Let’s take a look at your options.
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AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is the nation’s largest free filing program, and it’s aimed at taxpayers who are 50 or older. It’s available across the country and staffed by volunteers who are trained and certified by the Internal Revenue Service. You don’t even have to be an AARP member. Did we mention that it’s free?
Tax-Aide locations open in early February. You can visit a Tax-Aide office in person or check in virtually. You have seven options, most of which include filing electronically — the fastest way to get a refund. (You can also print out your return, sign it and mail it, but you’ll face a longer wait time for the IRS to process it.)
- In-person visit. A Tax-Aide volunteer will help you fill out your tax form in the office.
- One-visit scan. You make a digital copy of your tax records that is saved in IRS-provided software. Tax-Aide volunteers prepare the return remotely. You work with a volunteer online to finalize the return, file it and have the return sent to you using a secure transmission.
- Two-visit scan. You visit a Tax-Aide site, where a digital copy of your tax documents is created and stored in the IRS-provided software used to prepare your return. Tax-Aide volunteers then prepare the return remotely. During a second visit, you work with a volunteer to finalize your return and obtain a printed copy.
- Drop-off. You visit a Tax-Aide site and leave your tax documents with an IRS-certified volunteer. Your return is prepared by Tax-Aide volunteers working remotely. During a second visit, you work with a volunteer to finalize your return and file it. You leave with a printed copy of the return and your original documents.
- No site visit. (Internet only.) You create digital copies of your tax documents and upload them to the IRS-provided software used to prepare your return. Tax-Aide volunteers prepare your return remotely. You work with a volunteer online to finalize the return, file it and have the return sent to you using a secure transmission.
- Coaching. You prepare your own return and get support from an IRS-certified volunteer to help you along the way, no matter where you are in the process.
- Self preparation. You fully prepare your own return using a software product that we make available through our website.
If you want to visit in person, we recommend you make an appointment to cut down on wait times. Book an appointment now using the Site Locator tool, which will find a Tax-Aide site near you. If you would like to receive the latest information on Tax-Aide, sign up for SMS text alerts from AARP Foundation Tax-Aide.
The IRS will also help you file your taxes for free, provided you had adjusted gross income of $73,000 or less. Adjusted gross income is your income minus educator expenses, student loan interest, alimony payments or contributions to a retirement account. (Your AGI will never be more than your gross income and will sometimes be less.)