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We can’t get enough tax tips. Reader’s prompt points to how to get help and more

There are many ways to get help preparing taxes.
There are many ways to get help preparing taxes. MCT file

Q: Reading this month’s “tax preparer” column, I was a little surprised that you didn’t mention that a person could also use the “find a tax preparer” at the IRS website to find and check bios of preparers who meet education requirements. They can use their tax papers to click the items that need to be discussed with a paid preparer. Just a thought.

A: Thank you for the great reminder! Yes, you can find a tax preparer at irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep. Simply enter your ZIP code and a mile of radius and you will get a list of locations where you can get free assistance.

Also, the IRS has Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs that offer free tax help to qualifiers. These programs are designed to help low- to moderate-income families who are seeking help to get their tax returns prepared. Volunteers are assigned to a sponsoring organization to receive training and then to volunteer.

For some, the IRS offers Free File. Find out if you’re eligible and get more information about the program at irs.gov.freefile or fblinks.com/freefile.

If you do not qualify for the free programs, you can call the BBB at 559-222-8111 to check out tax preparation companies near you. If you do not have someone in mind to check on you may use BBB’s free Request-A-Quote program to find an accredited preparer by going to www.bbb.org/central-california-inland-empire/quote and following the prompts.

Finally, a word about deadlines: April 15 is the most common deadline to have your taxes filed. This year, there’ a two-day break on state and federal taxes because April 15 is a Sunday and April 16 is a holiday (Emancipation Day) observed in Washington, D.C.

The IRS says your return is considered filed on time if the envelope is properly addressed, postmarked and deposited in the mail by the due date.

If you are a fiscal filer, your taxes are due the fourth month after your fiscal year ends, day 15. IRS also advises that if you cannot meet your deadline you may file for an extension of time. An extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay. You may be subject to a late payment penalty on any tax not paid by the original due date of your return.

Action Line is written by Blair Looney, president and CEO for the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems to Action Line at the Better Business Bureau, 2600 W. Shaw Lane, Fresno, CA 93711 or info@cencal.bbb.org.

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