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Feb 14, 2013

Take Time for Taxes: Use IRS Resources to Prepare for Tax Season

This is an image of an alarm clock with the word taxes. With tax season just around the corner, it's never too early to start thinking about the best way for you to file your taxes.

This year, the deadline to file Federal tax returns for income earned in 2012 is April 15, 2013. Once you've collected your documentation of income, donations, investments, and other important transactions, consider using IRS Free-File. This fast, safe and free way to file your taxes is available starting January 30, 2013.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers advice and assistance to taxpayers through resources like the IRS Tax Assistant, an online tool that provides you with responses to tax law questions. The IRS Frequently Asked Questions page can also help you quickly find answers to specific questions about your taxes. If you need more personal help, you might be eligible for the tax-related forms of government assistance that are available.

Low-income taxpayers may be eligible to attend a Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC). These free tax preparation clinics are located around the country and exist to help those who cannot afford professional tax assistance, or who speak English as a second language (ESL) and need help understanding their taxpayer rights and responsibilities. Taxpayers with low to moderate incomes, disabilities, or limited English skills, in need of tax assistance can go to a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site. The VITA program provides volunteers to help prepare basic tax returns for free and some VITA sites even offer free electronic filing (e-filing).

Members of the military may also be eligible to participate in VITA. Prior to filing, military members should be aware of the Armed Forces Tax Benefits, which include tax credits and relief for special tax situations of active members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Citizens over the age of 60 can receive free tax preparation, and often e-filing, assistance from IRS certified volunteers through the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program, offered at community locations across the country.

If you are still unable to resolve your tax issue or you have received a notice from the IRS, the Taxpayer Advocate Service might be able to help. The Taxpayer Advocate Service helps taxpayers navigate the IRS dispute process and can be used when your tax problem is posing financial problems for your family or business.

Benefits.gov wants you to have a stress-free tax season. To find out if you are eligible for these and over 1,000 other forms of government assistance, click the "Start Now" button on the homepage to use our free and easy Benefit Finder. To view more tax-related programs, visit the Browse by Category page and select "Tax Assistance."