If you or your family earned $55,000 or less last year, you’re eligible to receive free tax filing help in Philadelphia.
In addition, the Internal Revenue Service offers free software to file taxes for those making more than $55,000.
United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey and the Campaign for Working Families kicked off what’s called the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) by opening more than 30 tax preparation sites across the region, including 18 in Philly.
VITA not only assists on taxes, but also helps Philly residents and the elderly connect to other financial resources such as budgeting, credit counseling and financial literacy programs. Last year, VITA volunteers filed 60,759 tax returns returning more than $47.9 million to local communities.
Free tax help is available on a first-come, first-served basis. For sites locally, visit this website cwfphilly.org/tax-site-locations/ or call the city hotline 2-1-1.
Bring the following documents for yourself, your spouse and any children or others you claim as a dependent:
If you choose to do you own taxes, be aware that the 2018 Form 1040 is half the size of previous forms. That is, instead of a jam-packed two page form, it is now a very relaxed two-sided half page.
However, that streamlined version is a bit misleading, according to the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accounts. The basic Form 1040 has always been a “summary” of other supporting tax data, and that has not changed, the PICPA wrote in a recent blog post. Forms known as “schedules” for things like itemized deductions (Schedule A), interest and dividends (B), self-employment income (C), capital gains (D), rents, royalties and pass-throughs (E), farming (F), household employees (H), self-employment tax (SE), and many others are still required when you file. Good luck!
The IRS also offers several online software packages available for free to the public, for those who want to file themselves.