By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
April 15 is right around the corner, but don’t panic if you haven’t filed your tax return yet. The deadline for filing is next Monday, so you have a few days to prepare.
For those who need assistance with their tax returns, a program offered by the Brooklyn-based non-profit group St. John’s Bread & Life could be the answer. The program, which usually offers food to the homeless, is expanding its mission to include helping residents file their tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service.
The service, which is being offered for free at the Bread & Life headquarters at 795 Lexington Ave. in Bedford-Stuyvesant, is available to low income individuals earning less than $20,000 a year and to families earning less than $55,000 a year.
Student volunteers from St. John's University, supervised by IRS-certified tax preparers, will use their accounting knowledge to help taxpayers file their returns electronically.
Last year, St. John's University students helped 1,300 filers apply for nearly $2 million on their tax returns, according to a spokeswoman for the Bread & Life program.
The tax help is available Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call 718-574-0058 for more information.
There is also help for taxpayers from another source. The Free Tax Alliance, a nonprofit coalition of tax software companies has partnered with the IRS to provide free, brand-name tax software. The software can be found at www.IRS.gov/FreeFile.
Through the Free File program, taxpayers with a 2012 adjusted gross income of $57,000 or less – about 100 million Americans – can choose from more than a dozen leading tax software providers and prepare and e-file their federal tax returns at no cost.
“Free File is the easiest solution for taxpayers in a time crunch,” said Tim Hugo, executive director of the Free File Alliance. “Since tax season was delayed by the fiscal cliff, millions of people are in a rush to get their taxes done. Fortunately, Free File is there to do the heavy lifting,” he said.
The software provides a step-by-step guide to make tax-filing quick and simple, Hugo said. “You can skip the hassle of having to mail your forms and do your taxes quickly, easily and even at home in your pajamas. Plus, when you e-file, you’ll receive a quick confirmation via email, so you can rest assured that you’re done for the year,” he said.
Free File has been offering free online tax preparation software since 2003. At the website, users will find a list of Free File Alliance member companies and may either choose one that fits their needs or utilize the “Help Me Find a Company” tool. After selecting a tax software company, users will be transferred to the company's website to prepare, complete and electronically file their federal income tax returns. The service is also available in Spanish.