A new searchable database of free tax preparation sites launched by the University of Missouri could help tax filers avoid the high costs of paid preparers and tax refund anticipation loans. Refund anticipation loans, or RALs, are an expensive way to get your projected tax refund—in Illinois, they cost taxpayers $114 million in 2006 alone. Despite that, some borrowers choose RALs to avoid paying up front for tax preparation—preparers just deduct their fees from the loan proceeds.
An alternative to using paid tax preparers is to visit a free tax preparer certified by the Internal Revenue Service. Persons who are low-income, disabled, homebound, speak English as a second language, age 60 or over, or a military service member or family member may be eligible for this reliable and free tax preparation service.
The University of Missouri has put together a searchable database of free tax preparation sites throughout the nation. You can also find the nearest site by calling 1-800-829-1040. Learn more about the free tax preparation program and eligibility requirements.