Did You Know? 2-1-1 and Free Tax Sites

Important Reminder: 2-1-1 is a nationwide phone service that provides information about a wide range of social services! Wherever you are, dialing 211 will put you in touch with a local referral specialist who can tell you where to find… help with winter heating bills, or therapists who work with young children, or assistance with housing costs, and much more! The website http://211iowa.org/  provides some information on-line, as well.
In Extension we rely on our own hotlines for s-o-o much information, but sometimes 211 is the best referral.  Interestingly, for about one-third of the counties in Iowa (including some of you), 211 calls are answered by the staff at the Urbandale Outreach Center – the same staff who answer Iowa Concern calls!!
Other ways to file taxes for free: In addition to sites where volunteers will prepare returns for them, taxpayers also have free options for preparing their own tax returns, if their income is below certain thresholds. Note: the thresholds are quite generous.
·       www.myfreetaxes.com is sponsored by United Way Worldwide, and offers free use of software for federal returns and all state returns. Yes, it’s a “.com” site – it’s a partnership between United Way and H&R Block – but it’s still a terrific and reliable resource. One advantage: they have professionals available to consult with taxpayers who have questions while preparing their own returns.
·       IRS FreeFile (https://www.irs.gov/filing/free-file-do-your-federal-taxes-for-free) is a similar site made available by an alliance of tax software companies in partnership with the IRS.

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