Massachusetts Legal Blog

Tax Conveniences: Paying and Filing

The Internal Revenue Service has announced that taxpayers who need to make a payment in cash can now do so at 7-Eleven convenience stores across the United States.

While it may seem like an unusual arrangement, it caters to a large number of Americans who do not have a bank account or credit card. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation estimates one in 13 households in the U.S. do not have a bank account.

“We continue to look for new ways to provide services for our taxpayers … this provides a new way for people who can only pay their taxes in cash without having to travel to an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

When it comes to filing, the IRS is also finding new ways to make this process more convenient.

Taxpayers may now may use their smart phones or tablets to electronically prepare and file their federal and state tax returns through IRS Free File. Taxpayers with adjusted gross income of $64,000 or less will find one or more free software options. Each of the 12 software providers have their own set eligibility requirements for their product. These will generally be based on age, income or state residency.

Free File projects that for 2017 are that it will prepare about 3 million individual income tax returns out of the 153 million the IRS expects to receive.

“One hundred million people are eligible but it’s not advertised, so nobody knows about it,” said Tim Hugo, executive director of the Free File Alliance.

For those who do not wish to spend any money, and still want personal assistance from a tax professional, the AARP Foundation runs a volunteer-based Tax-Aide program (for those who can’t afford tax prep help).

The IRS also has both a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA), for people with disabilities, limited English or those who generally make $54,000 or less, and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) for those who are ages 60 or older. VITA and TCE sites are generally located in community centers, libraries and schools and are typically operated by AARP’s Tax-Aide program.