Each year as the holidays subside and tax season begins, the phones at the Bucks County Opportunity Council (BCOC) offices ring nonstop with calls from taxpayers eager to make appointments for income tax preparation assistance through the Buck$Back program.
Buck$Back is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provided by the Bucks County Opportunity Council in partnership with the IRS. Every year dozens of volunteers complete their annual certification and sign up to help with tax preparation at sites throughout the county.
When W2s and 1099s start arriving, the BCOC office gets hundreds of calls from workers to make their free tax preparation appointments. The Buck$Back program is a wonderful opportunity for free tax help, but if you are eager to file your taxes, you may consider filing them on your own. Many people may feel overwhelmed at the thought of filing their own taxes, but there is an online program that makes tax returns simple and easy. Plus, the process can be completed on your own time, without the wait of an appointment.
Kasey Storm decided to give this a shot and filed her tax return for free at www.myfreetaxes.com/bcoc.
“It was easy,” said Kasey. “I did mine, and then I helped a friend do theirs.”
Kasey did not need help from a volunteer, but there was one available by phone or chat as she was preparing her taxes.
“I would recommend to others how easy and convenient it is,” said Kasey.
BCOC staff member Briana McGonagle also used www.myfreetaxes.com/bcoc.
“I filed my taxes on my own for the first time this year,” said Briana. “I was dreading doing so because I was afraid I would miss something and mess everything up. I filed online using My Free Taxes, and was surprised at how simple it was.”
“I realized I was worried for nothing! The website was easy to use, even for a person like me who has never filed taxes on my own before. The site explained everything that I needed and walked me through the process of filing my Federal and State income taxes. My Free Taxes was thorough and explained that there were credits I was eligible for”, said Briana.
The www.myfreetaxes.com/bcoc provides free federal and state tax preparation and filing assistance for households making less than $57,000 a year. It’s easy, safe and secure and 100% free.
Step 1: Gather your documents
- W-2s for each job held in 2012 for each person in your household
- 1099s and 1098s showing other income (unemployment, social security, school loans, health care reimbursement, state tax refund, gambling winnings, contract work)
- Income/interest statements received for any savings accounts or investments
- Bank account number and routing number for direct deposit of your refund
- Last year’s tax return (if you have it)
Step 2: Collect information for everyone in your household
- Name and taxpayer number as they appear on the Social Security Card (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number letter (ITIN) for you and all your dependents (including children and elderly relatives for whom you provide care)
- Date of birth and relationship (son, daughter, mother, etc.) for each household member
- Current address (it may be different from the address on your employment records)
Step 3: Gather additional items to get a larger refund
- Childcare expenses: name, address, Tax ID or Social Security Number of the child care provider
- Business expenses and assets: if you are self-employed or have a small business
- College loans and/or scholarships received, and bills for technical/community college or university (Forms 1098-T/1098-E)
- Educator expenses if you teach grades K-12
- Charitable donations: list of contributions and amounts, receipts for contributions over $250
- Vehicle sales tax, personal property tax statement for each car you own, total miles driven for the year and/or total miles driven for business
- Amount of rent paid (rebates are available in some states)
- Mortgage interest statement (Form 1098), real estate taxes paid, Statement of Property Tax Payable in 2012
- Amount contributed to an IRA and total value as of December 2012
Step 4: File your taxes for free at www.myfreetaxes.com/bcoc.
According to Stephanie Chin of the United Way, as of February 27th, more than 44,000 people nationwide used My Free Taxes to file, and United Way volunteers fielded more than 1500 calls or chat requests for assistance.
The MyFreeTaxes Partnership provides free federal and state tax preparation and filing assistance for qualified individuals. Powered by the Walmart Foundation – in cooperation with Goodwill Industries International, National Disability Institute and United Way Worldwide – the MyFreeTaxes Partnership’s online and in person tax preparation and filing services will help tens of thousands of taxpayers this year.
Give this a try today!