Where to Get Help

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Whether you need to solve a problem or want to plan for the future, it can be important to find the right professional help. Here’s where to look.

Federal Tax Payments

If you need to make a federal tax payment, the IRS has a central page with all payment options. This includes cash, check, ACH, debit card, and credit card. If you can’t afford to pay now, you can also review your options to handle your tax debt.

If you need to check if your payment went through, what you owe to the IRS, or what the IRS owes you, you can check your IRS account online. Keep in mind that it can take several weeks for transactions to appear online.

Tax Filing

There are several popular commercial tax filing services available online. This software asks you questions to guide you through filing your tax return and is suitable for the vast majority of individual tax returns. If your Adjusted Gross Income is below $72,000, you may qualify for IRS Free File. The IRS Free File program provides common commercial software at no charge to those meeting eligibility requirements.

If you need in-person assistance and make up to $57,000 per year, you may qualify for the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. This program uses trained volunteers who are often students under the supervision of experienced tax preparers.

If you’re looking to hire a CPA or Enrolled Agent, use the directory at your state CPA society or the National Association of Enrolled Agents.

Tax Problems

The IRS provides limited assistance if you call the number on your IRS notice or letter. This usually means that they will explain why you owe money or what documents they need when there is an obvious solution. If you don’t fully understand the problem or need to prove something that isn’t as clear, you may need help outside of the IRS.

If you meet income guidelines that vary based on your state and family size, you may qualify for the IRS Low Income Taxpayer Clinic program. If you’re looking to hire a CPA or Enrolled Agent, use the directory at your state CPA society or the National Association of Enrolled Agents. Many will offer a free initial consultation to determine if they can help you.

Legal Advice

If you need an attorney for planning, document preparation, or to solve a problem, the American Bar Association maintains a list of attorney directories by state. Local law schools sometimes offer free legal assistance, performed by law students under the supervision of attorney professors, to those meeting eligibility criteria. If you’re a member of a co-working location or startup incubator, you may also have access to legal assistance.

Insurance

Insurance is generally a commercial product. You can either work with the insurance company directly or find an insurance agent. Insurance agents often sell policies from multiple insurance companies and rely on customer referrals, so they can often help you get a better understanding of your insurance needs without you having to worry about getting oversold.

If you’re involved in a dispute with your insurance company over a claim that you can’t resolve, the next step is often to talk to an attorney.

 

Need personal help? Click here for additional free resources or to find an accountant, attorney, or other professional near youRemember: This blog post and the comments provide generalized information that may be out of date or inaccurate for your situation. Always schedule a personal consultation with an appropriate licensed professional in your area before taking action. For full terms of use, click here.

Have general questions about this post or want to learn more about a related topic? Please leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Comments are public, and I can’t provide individual advice, but it helps me make the posts more useful for the future. Please do not post personal information. If you need personal assistance, please contact the relevant government agency or hire an appropriate professional near you.

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