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Free tax help available in Helena this year

Tax Season Begins
Posted at 1:50 PM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 20:54:37-05

HELENA — There is still free tax help available for those that need it in Helena, although the number of in-person help has been greatly reduced because of the pandemic.

Good Samaritan Ministries is offering free tax help Mondays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. The nonprofit is only taking walk-ins for tax help at this time.

The East Helena United Methodist Church will also be offering free tax help on Feb. 10, 24 and Mar.24 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Individuals needing tax help from either organization should bring a valid photo ID for themselves and their spouse if they are filing jointly. Both spouses need to be present if filing jointly. Other required documentation are: Social Security cards or ITIN notices/cards for all individuals on tax return; birthdates for all individuals on tax return; all Forms W-2, 1099, and information for any other income; Information for all deductions and credits; Form 1095-A, B or C (ACA statements) from insurer; total paid to child care provider and their tax ID number; copy of prior year tax return; and proof of account for refund direct deposit or proof of account for electronic funds withdrawal.

More Montanans than ever before received unemployment insurance last year through the Montana Department of Labor and Industry (DLI). Unemployment benefits are subject to federal income tax.

“UI benefits are considered regular income and that means they’re subject to regular income tax. That includes benefits received under the regular UI program and also those special unemployment compensation that were authorized under the CARES act,” said DLI Public Information Officer Lauren Lewis. “But it is important to know that in Montana UI benefits are exempt from state income tax.”

At the beginning of February DLI sent 1099-G forms to individuals who received payments which they’ll need for filing their taxes.

The Lewis and Clark Library traditionally held tax help clinics but are unable this year due to COVID protocols. The Library does have federal forms and booklets available in the lobby of their main branch during Non-Contact Holds Pick-Up hours which are Monday-Friday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The State of Montana forms are all online, but the Library also has limited printed copies of the Montana form for those who request one. The Library does not have copies of the Montana Instructions for distribution, but does have a copy that can be viewed during Non-Contact Holds Pick-Up hours.

People can also access the Library’s public Wi-Fi from the parking lot of any of their branch locations.

The United Way has online tax support called MyFreeTaxes. The web service helps people file their taxes for free while getting the assistance they need. They also connect MyFreeTaxes users who need more support filing their return to partner nonprofits who are part of the IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

Some other free tax filing programs include Credit Karma as well as Free Tax USA.

Members of the military are able to use MilTax, a free tax service operated by the U.S. Department of Defense.