Share this article

print logo

Free tax help is available for many of us

Every year, I write a column about where to find free tax help, and every year I get that Beatles song “Taxman” stuck in my head.

Anyway. On to more important, less hummable things.

IRS FreeFile. All taxpayers can file their taxes for free using the IRS’ free online tax forms. Those earning less than $62,000 a year also get access to free tax prep software. Visit Those with a household income of $62,000 or less can file federal and state taxes for free using this website, which also offers live help via text message or online chat.

TurboTax. Active-duty military in classes E1 through E5 can use the software free to file state and federal taxes. Visit

The VITA and TCE Programs. Individuals and families earning less than $54,000 a year can get free, in-person, basic tax help and electronic tax filing from IRS-certified volunteers through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. The program also helps those with disabilities, the elderly and those with limited ability to speak English.

The University at Buffalo offers VITA services at its Educational Opportunity Center. It runs from Feb. 1 through April 15. Counselors are available from 4 to 8 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays; and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on select Fridays at the EOC, 555 Ellicott St.

Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Niagara and the Niagara County Financial Literacy Coalition also have VITA sites, at Orleans Niagara BOCES, 140 Genesee St. in Lockport; and Family and Children Services Center, 1522 Main St. in Niagara Falls. To schedule an appointment, call 712-2060.

Tax Counseling for the Elderly provides specialized service for those age 60 and over.

Volunteers for both the VITA and TCE programs are stationed at dozens of sites throughout Western New York. Some require appointments, some don’t. To find a location, call (800) 906-9887 or visit You can also call 2-1-1.

If you go, here’s what to bring:

• Government-issued ID for each adult.

• Original Social Security cards for each filer and dependent.

• Tuition expenses statement, form 1098-T or student loan interest statements.

• All wage and earning statements, forms W-2 and 1099.

• All interest and dividend statements, form 1099.

• The total amount paid for day care and the day care provider’s tax ID number.

• Bank routing and account numbers, so your return can be deposited directly.

• For the first time this year, you’ll need your Affordable Health Care Act Statements, forms 1095-A, B or C.

• If you have them, you should also bring last year’s federal and state tax returns.

If you’re married and filing jointly, both spouses need to attend the tax prep session, because signatures are required from both.

Paper forms. You can request paper forms to be sent through the mail, which come with preparation and filing instructions. To order them, call (800) 829-3676.

You also can also print federal income tax paper forms at (click on the “forms and pubs” tab at the top of the page) and state income tax paper forms at


Every year I get that Beatles song “Taxman” stuck in my head.