Tax tips, resources and April 15 giveaways

Authored By chloe.morrison

Few things strike fear into the hearts of Americans like tax season. But don’t worry. There’s help available. 

From tax filing services to free products on April 15-which is the deadline to file taxes-there are ways to ease the stress that can come with this time of the year. 

The Internal Revenue Service has an array of resources online. Click here for that. 

And taxpayers who aren’t going to make the April 15 deadline can file for an extension. 

Kona Ice offers free treat

To help taxpayers chill out, Kona Ice is offering free tropical shaved ice and complimentary Hawaiian leis to local residents.

The truck will be driving around downtown Chattanooga April 15 delivering the free goodies, and anyone who misses it can call 423-402-1811 to request the truck to swing by.

Click here for more possible freebies on tax day. 

According to the IRS, the easiest and fastest way to get a six-month extension is through Free File. Click here for that. Click here for the extension form. 

Filing for an extension means taxpayers have until Oct. 15 to file their return. 

To get the extension, taxpayers must estimate their tax liability on this form and should also pay any amount due.

Click here for more information. 

Free help Saturday 
The Urban League of Greater Chattanooga, along with the city of Chattanooga and the IRS, will offer free tax preparation services through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program to qualified residents Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The event will be at the Highland Center, formerly the 21st Century Academy, located at 104 N. Tuxedo Circle.

The program is designed to provide a financial boost for low- to moderate-income individuals and families whose income last year amounted to up to $53,000.

Since the program started here in 2006, officials have processed more than 39,100 tax returns, providing close to $11 million in refunds for participating community members.  

IRS-certified volunteers will be on hand to help attendees prepare their taxes, answer questions and distribute tax information documents.

“The IRS has new requirements for taxpayers, and many people will not be prepared,” Val Palmer, program director for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, said in a prepared statement. “However, individuals can go to the Highland Center … and get free help and information.”

During the program, taxes will be electronically filed, and returns will be deposited directly into a taxpayer’s bank account. 

For more information, contact the Urban League at 423-756-1762, or click here.  

Tips from the United States Postal Service 
USPS leaders are reminding taxpayers to pay special attention to post office retail hours and collection box pickup times as tax day approaches. 

Post offices in Tennessee and Northwest Georgia will be open regular business hours April 15. Click here for locations and hours. 

Here are some other filing tips for anyone who plans to mail documents. 

-Remember that mail must be deposited before the last collection time at the post office or collection box April 15 to receive an April 15 postmark.

-If depositing returns in a blue collection box April 15, double-check the pickup schedule on the label. To ensure getting the April 15 postmark, deposit returns before the last scheduled pickup time.

-Make sure to affix the appropriate postage, especially if the item may weigh more than an ounce. The cost of a 1-ounce letter is $0.49 and $0.21 for each additional ounce.

-Include a return address on the envelope. 

-Get proof of mailing and proof of delivery for tax returns. 

-Remember that tax forms are no longer available at post offices. Taxpayers can get the forms online. Click here for federal forms, here for Tennessee forms and here for Georgia forms.

Updated @ 4:03 p.m. on 4/9/15 to add more information.