Ways to Save Money on Tax Preparation

It's time to get your taxes done! Before you hand over your hard earned money, consider one of the free tax preparation services available throughout the Tennessee Valley. Tax help for  working families and seniors is just a phone call away. Call and set up your appointment today!          

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Ways to Save Money on Tax Preparation

6 Feb 2018

Ways to Save Money on Tax Preparation

For the 2018 tax year, tax preparation fees will no longer be deductible under the new 2018 tax law. That’s why it is even more important to shop around before choosing a paid tax preparer. To help you keep more of your hard-earned money, Redstone Federal Credit Union offers you this helpful information. 

According to the National Society of Accountants 2016-2017 fee survey, the average cost to prepare and file a simple Form 1040 with no itemized deductions and a state tax form is $176. Add a Schedule A (itemized deductions) to that mix and the fee is $273.

Most tax preparers base their charges on the complexity of your tax situation and the completion of your information.

How much are you paying? If you find that the tax prep fees are too steep for you, there are free alternatives available. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide offers free tax preparation assistance to anyone who needs those services.  Even if your taxes are somewhat complicated, the AARP team is IRS-certified and ready to help. Redstone Federal Credit Union has partnered with AARP to provide Saturday hours at The Atrium, next to the Wynn Drive branch at 220 Wynn Drive in Huntsville.

Assistance is available by appointment only. Call 256-513-8291 to lock in your time.

Impact America also offers free tax preparation for working families and the elderly in Huntsville, Decatur and Florence.

Impact America volunteers are available weekdays at the Optimist Recreation Center, 703 Oakwood Avenue, Huntsville.  Call 1-844-448-2925 to schedule your appointment.

United Way of Madison County is another resource for families who earn up to $54,000 yearly or for individuals who earn up to $25,000 yearly. Call 2-1-1 or 256-536-0745 for your appointment.

Here’s what to bring to an appointment:

  • Social Security Cards for all household members
  • All W-2s
  • Any 1098, 1099 forms
  • Photo Identification
  • Last year’s tax return
  • Bank account number and routing number if requesting an electronic deposit
  • Insurance-related tax forms
  • Any correspondence from the IRS

Impact America estimates that each family saves an average of $300 in tax preparation fees each year by using the free services.

However, if you do use a paid service, there are some things you can do to keep your costs from rising. Don’t just throw your shoe box of receipts at your tax preparer and race to the exit. If he or she has to organize your files before starting on your taxes, that’s a problem that will likely cost you.

Get organized before you visit. Take the time to get together all 1099s and business receipts from the previous year.     

Do some preliminary work. Write down all the deductions you can think of. Find the receipts to correspond with your charitable deductions.

Find your year-end statements. Locate those year-end mortgage interest statements, property tax payment receipts, energy efficient upgrade receipts, brokerage account statements…are just a few.  

File early.  Some tax preparers offer discounts for filing early. It can also help you avoid being a victim of identity fraud. Tax season is a prime time for online scams.        

RFCU does not provide tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor with your specific questions. RFCU and AARP are separate entities. RFCU does not warrant, guarantee, or insure any product or service offered by AARP.

Must be eligible for membership and open a savings account to join RFCU®, obtain any products or services. A minimum balance of $5 is required to open and be maintained in the savings account.

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