Although 2020 was difficult year for many of us, there were a few silver linings to the cloud. Stimulus checks, expanded unemployment benefits, the ability to work remotely, and tax relief packages enabled many of us to meet our basic needs and make it through an extraordinarily challenging time.
These same silver linings may cause your taxes to look a little different this year. Before you begin preparing your taxes, here are a few things to know:
- The IRS will not begin accepting tax returns until February 12th.
- Stimulus checks are not taxable and are a credit on tax returns.
- Unemployment benefits are taxable.
- Working remotely could result in tax consequences.
- There may be changes to the tax code, including income and expense eligibility.
Another silver lining? You may be able to get free help to prepare and file your taxes. Here is some information and resources to start.
- This year, some tax assistance sites are not operating at full capacity and others are not opening. Many site locator tools are updated throughout the filing season, so check back to the site frequently if you don’t see a nearby site listed.
- Service providers may have COVID-19 protections requirements in place. Please contact your desired service provider directly to learn more about COVID-19 protections they may have in place.
Getting Started: Use a Checklist
Before filing your state and federal returns, take advantage My Free Taxes’ Tax Preparation Checklist. It can help you organize the forms and information you need to maximize your refund.
My Free Taxes – Free, Online Assistance
My Free Taxes is a safe, online program that provides free state and federal tax preparation and filing assistance for simple returns. My Free Taxes is provided as a joint effort between United Way and H&R Block. It’s H&R Block’s Premium tax prep product, and is 100% guaranteed.
Free File – Help from the IRS
The IRS offers this free, online resource for completing federal individual tax returns. Free state return options are also available.
Tax Preparation Help – Help from the IRS
The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs offer free tax help for taxpayers who qualify. Find a provider near you.
Your Library: A Valuable Resource
If you’d like to work with someone within your community, check your local public library.
Dane County Resources
There are several organizations within Dane County that offer free tax preparation assistance. Check these ones out: