ABDC provides assistance to qualifying taxpayers in controversy with the IRS. Representation may include a qualified practitioner directly representing a qualifying taxpayer; qualification is based on current year finances and the amount in controversy.
Eligibility for free services is based on federal income ceilings that change annually. The income ceilings for 2019 are:
You may be able to claim an individual as a dependent on your return regardless of age or relationship. Many children who are 18 or older may still be claimed as a dependent by their parents. Ask your preparer for guidance on claiming a dependent.
If you can be claimed as a dependent on another person’s return, you are required to report the PFD income to the IRS even if it was your only income.
If you can be claimed as a dependent on another person’s return, inform your preparer if you file a return on your own. On page 1 of your tax return, the box next to ‘Someone can claim you as a dependent’ must be checked. Omitting this will result in complications in filing your tax return and may result in the IRS asking you to return to them any refund paid in addition to fines and penalties.
The 2019 Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) was $1,606. This is taxable income and should be reported on your tax return. Even if your PFD was garnished, you must report it as income.
Most of the income you receive has already been reported to the IRS by the payer. The IRS knows what you have made. File a properly completed tax return to minimize your tax burden.
You may be required to file a return due to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. If you had health insurance through the Marketplace, you will need a Form 1095-A. For more information regarding the Affordable Care Act, visit the IRS website Affordable Care Act Tax Provisions for Individuals and Families.
If you are not married you cannot file Married Filing Jointly.
Even if the tax deadline has passed, it’s not too late to file. If you are due a refund, you may be able to collect the amount due for three years after the due date of the return.
If you receive a notice from the IRS, you must respond. Call the number on the notice, typically found in the upper right hand corner. Responding in a timely manner may reduce further IRS action and/or debt. Ignoring IRS letters may result in a levy on your income and/or lien on your assets. ABDC may be able to assist you.
If you owe, you cannot avoid owing by not filing. File before the due date to avoid the failure-to-file penalty. Consider a short term extension of time to pay or an installment agreement. See FAQs for more information on payment options or go to irs.gov/payments.
An extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay.
Check the status of your refund at www.irs.gov by choosing “Get Your Refund Status.” You will need your Social Security number, filing status and refund amount. Alternatively, you can call the IRS Refund Hotline at (800) 829-1954 and follow the automated prompts. If more than 21 days have passed and you have not received your refund, call the general IRS line at (800) 829-1040. ABDC does not have information regarding the status of your refund and is unable to contact the IRS on your behalf.
Can you prepare my taxes?
Contact ABDC at (907) 562-0335 to see if your community is on the travel schedule or if assistance is available through the Anchorage Mail-in site. ABDC sends teams of volunteers to partner communities in rural Alaska to prepare current year income tax returns for all community residents whose income and expenses fall within scope. Residents of communities visited by the traveling team are also welcomed to send their information to the Anchorage office for current year return preparation if they miss the traveling team or if they require prior year or amended tax return preparation. Tax return preparation is made possible at no cost to the individual taxpayer through the contribution of generous sponsors. If you are a resident of a community that has a sponsor, ABDC can prepare your return at the Anchorage office even if your community was not visited by a traveling team.
Who will prepare my tax return if I choose ABDC?
ABDC’s tax preparers are volunteers who have been trained in current year tax return preparation. Preparers are certified by the IRS and have received additional training in the specific requirements of rural Alaskan taxpayers.
What type of tax returns does ABDC prepare?
ABDC can only prepare tax returns that are within the scope of the IRS VITA program. Most individuals fall within the scope, but certain tax returns should be completed by a paid preparer. If you have high income, expenses or a complicated return, a paid tax preparer might better serve you. For additional questions in regards to the scope of tax returns prepared, please call ABDC at (907) 562-0335.
What do I need in order to have my taxes prepared?
You will need the following items in order to have your taxes prepared:
Your photo ID
A copy of Social Security cards for yourself and each person included on your tax return.
All tax documents you received. Examples: Form W-2s, 1099-MISC, 1099-DIV, etc. Please make sure you have a Form W-2 for each job you held during the tax year.
You are required to report all income unless specifically excluded, even if you did not receive a form identifying the income.
How can I submit my tax information to ABDC’s office?
If you missed the team when they visited your community, your return can be prepared by the Anchorage office. If your community was not visited by a traveling team but was covered by a sponsor, your return can be prepared by the Anchorage office. Call ABDC at (907) 562-0335 to determine if your community qualifies. Refer to the Mail-in Instructions if your tax return can be prepared by the Anchorage office. Please DO NOT send in original documents. Send in copies of identification and documents.
How long will it take for my taxes to be filed with the IRS?
Returns completed by the traveling team will be e-filed with the IRS when the team returns to Anchorage. Once the return is e-filed, you will be contacted only if the return was rejected by the IRS or an error is discovered. If your taxes were prepared by the Mail-in Site, please contact the Anchorage office for further information. Tax returns cannot be e-filed until ABDC receives a Form 8879 signed by the taxpayer and, if applicable, the spouse.
How long will it take to use the Mail-in Site for tax preparation?
Returns are processed in order of receipt. Call the office after you have submitted your documents to verify that they were received and inquire about an estimated completion time. After your return is completed, you will need to sign the required authorization forms and return them to the office before your return can be e-filed with the IRS.
How can I get a copy of my tax return?
If ABDC prepared your tax return, a copy may be available from the ABDC office. Call ABDC at (907) 562-0335. You will need to complete an Authorization to Release Information form. The completed form, along with a legible copy of your identification, can be faxed to the Anchorage office at (907) 562-6988.
If ABDC did not prepare your return, you should contact the preparer or the IRS directly. You can contact the IRS either by phone at (800) 829-1040 and follow the prompts, or by visiting the IRS website.
What if I cannot pay what I owe the IRS in full?
If you are unable to pay the IRS in full, the following options are available:
Short-Term Extension: If you can pay the balance due within four (4) months, you may qualify for a short-term extension. A short-term extension of time to pay will generally result in lower penalties and interest than if a monthly installment plan were set up. You can request a short-term extension by visiting the Online Payment Agreement Application website or by calling the IRS at (800) 829-1040.
Installment Plan: The IRS may accept monthly payments; you can do this by requesting an installment plan. There is an application fee for an installment request.
If you set up an online payment agreement and make your payments by direct debit the fee is $31.
If you don’t set up an online payment agreement but make your payment by direct debit the fee is $107.
If you set up an online payment agreement but don’t make your payments by direct debit the fee is $149.
If you don’t set up an online payment agreement and don’t make your payments by direct debit the fee is $225.
You may qualify to pay a reduced fee of $43 if your income is below a certain level. The IRS will let you know whether you qualify for a reduced fee.
In addition to the above fees, you will pay interest and penalties on any outstanding tax due. You can request an Installment Agreement online if the total debt is less than $25,000 by going to www.irs.gov and clicking on “Online Payment Agreement (OPA) application”. Other options for requesting an Installment Agreement include filing Form 9465 with your tax return or by calling the IRS at (800) 829-1040.
Pay by Credit Card: You can pay by credit card. Visit www.irs.gov and choose “Make a Payment.”
Should I still file my tax return if I can’t pay?
Yes! You may avoid a failure-to-file penalty by filing a return, even if you are unable to pay the balance due.
Can I claim my grandchildren, niece or nephew as a dependent if I support them? What about my girlfriend or boyfriend?
You may be able to claim your grandchildren, niece, nephew or significant other if certain conditions are met; IRS dependent laws are complex. Consult your tax preparer or visit www.irs.gov and enter “dependents” into the search box for more details.
I received a letter from the IRS. What should I do?
Always respond to requests for information and notices from the IRS. All IRS letters have a phone number to call. If you do not know what the letter is requesting or what it is about, call the number and ask questions. The IRS responds best to taxpayers who do not ignore requests for information. ABDC has a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic that may be able to provide assistance with IRS notices to qualifying individuals.
I don’t remember the last time I filed. Will ABDC prepare tax returns for previous years?
ABDC may be able to assist you in filing your prior year returns. Please call (907) 562-0335 for more information.
How can I request ABDC to come to my community?
ABDC works with various sponsors to provide current year tax preparation services to rural Alaskan communities. Generally, sponsors determine which communities’ services are provided to. Contact your native corporation, village council or CDQ and ask if they are interested in sponsoring tax related services in your community with ABDC. If they are interested, they may contact the Anchorage office at (907) 562-0335.