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Tax help for the rural folks

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We’re nearing the end of January, and that means that tax season is quickly approaching. Whether you’re a hobby farmer or a full-time farmer, tax prep can be a headache. To help out, we’re listing some assistance options below:

Free tax help is available & can help you get your refund faster

The IRS is experiencing massive backlogs because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It may take nine to 12 months for your return to be processed and to receive your refund if you physically mail your return to the IRS. However, you can generally expect to receive your refund in three to four weeks if you electronically file the return.

The IRS’s “Free File” Program may be able to help. Free File partners will e-file your return for free. This year, you can e-file with Free File if your adjusted gross income is $73,000 or less. Links to these free tax preparation and e-filing services are available at irs.gov/freefile.

Free tax assistance is also available in many communities. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Program provide free tax preparation and e-filing services. Locations can be found at irs.gov/vita or from your local United Way. The AARP Tax Aide Program also provides free tax preparation. VITA, TCE and Tax Aide each have different eligibility requirements.

If you qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), you also qualify for free tax help by IRS-trained volunteers. You may qualify for the EITC even if you’re single and have no children. EITC eligibility can be complicated. Check if you qualify at irs.gov/eitcassistant.

In addition to e-filing, you will usually receive your refund faster if you ask for the payment to be directly deposited into your bank account.

Looking for something a bit more specific to the ag world though? Rural Tax Education offers a Small Farm Tax Guide online.

And if you’re in the Northeast, Farm Credit East could be a lifesaver with their tax preparation services.

Remember, if you’re not sure where to start (or even what to ask), there are folks out there ready and willing to help.

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