Tax Season Resources

Tax Day is just around the corner! For the 2021 year, all Federal and Vermont state taxes must be filed by April 18th, 2022. So, if you haven’t filed yet, don’t worry – you still have time!

To get started, check out some of the free resources below:

Tax Preparation Assistance through CVOEO

If you would like someone to help you organize and file your taxes, CVOEO is offering free tax preparation appointments through April 15th. In Chittenden County, appointment times are available Monday through Thursday and Saturday of each week at the University Mall in South Burlington. To schedule an appointment, call 2-1-1.

In Franklin and Grand Isle Counties, tax appointments are available Monday through Friday of each week at 5 Lemnah Drive, Suite #5, in St. Albans. To schedule an appointment, call Rebecca at 802-527-7392 x107.

MyFreeTaxes

If you feel comfortable using an online platform, MyFreeTaxes allows users to file their taxes for free. You can either follow their program guidelines to file on your own, or you can ask for help from representatives. MyFreeTaxes is the product of a partnership between United Way and VITA (the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program).

Vermont Legal Aid’s Tax Resource List

To learn more about the entire filing process, Vermont Legal Aid has created a list of resources to help with a wide range of tax-related topics, such as income tax forms, health insurance forms, renter credits, and how to avoid tax scams. Vermont Legal Aid also offers language translation services, which you can access by calling 1-800-889-2047.

Other Free Filing Options Online

Some paid tax-filing websites offer free filing services to people who fall within certain Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) brackets for the 2021 year (You can find your AGI for the past year in Box No. 1 of your W-2. If you have more than one W-2, add the amounts listed in Box No. 1 of each form to get your total AGI). Here is a list:

OnLine Taxes – free for taxpayers whose 2021 AGI is between $16,000 and $73,000
1040NOW – free for Vermonters whose 2021 AGI is $32,000 or less
TaxSlayer – free for taxpayers whose 2021 AGI is $39,000 or less
FreeTaxUSA – free for taxpayers whose 2021 AGI is $41,000 or less
IRS Free File Program – free for taxpayers under 56 years old whose 2021 AGI is $65,000 or less
FileYourTaxes – free for taxpayers under 65 years old whose 2021 AGI is between $9,500 and $73,000




Learn How to Build a Budget

Creating a budget can seem like a stressful thing to do. Where do you start? How much money should you save? How can you track all of your spending?

Luckily, there are a ton of free resources out there to help you manage your money – without the headache.

Some great starting points include taking a financial planning class, downloading a budgeting app or playing financial literacy games online.

Financial Planning Classes

Growing Money Classes at CVOEO
CVOEO offers three classes geared towards growing your money: Spend SMART 1 & 2 (2 sessions), Keys to Credit (1 session) and Creating a Financial Future (2 sessions). If you want to learn about how to manage your money, reach your financial goals, or learn about credit and investing, these classes are a great place to start.

Financial Empowerment Classes for New Americans, which are also offered by CVOEO, cover a wide range of topics and are provided by CVOEO’s Community Ambassadors, who offer classes in French, Lingala, Maay Maay, Nepali, Somali, Spanish and Swahili.

Online Financial Management Classes at SEVCA
Southeastern Vermont Community Action offers four online workshops: Taking Control of Your Money – Creating a Budget, Set Your Goals – Manage Your Expenses, Credit – Tame the Credit Beast and Banks and Credit Unions – Protect and Grow Your Money. March 2022 class dates are listed on their website.

Self-Guided Course Online at Hands on Banking
Through this course, you can learn about creating a spending plan, building credit, managing school loans and how continuing education after high school could fit into your financial future. Hands on Banking is provided by Wells Fargo.

Budgeting Apps

Mint
This app syncs to your bank accounts to track your income, purchases and savings. It includes a daily budget planner, automatically categorizes expenses for you, and allows you to create and track your own savings goals. Mint is a product of Inuit, who also produces TurboTax and has a strong reputation for keeping personal information secure.

For help using Mint, watch the YouTube tutorial below:

Goodbudget
Goodbudget is a money management and expense tracking app. It is based on an “envelope system” and includes graphics to make planning a budget more fun. Goodbudget, which used to be known as Easy Envelope Budget Aid (EEBA), is a product of Dayspring Technologies, which is another company that prioritizes data security.

For help using Goodbudget, watch the YouTube tutorial below:

Online Games

Lights, Camera, Budget!
This game provides a fun way to learn about financial literacy topics while practicing budgeting skills. Players are positioned as movie producers who have been given $100 million to produce a movie. To get the movie produced, they must prove they have good personal finance skills to keep their budget on track.

The Budget Game
This game challenges players to pay bills, buy food, and plan fun activities on a three-month budget. (Note: game currencies are only available in Euros or British Pounds, but this does not affect the point of the game for users in the U.S.).

Spent
Throughout the game, players make a series of decisions related to meeting basic needs, health and education which impact their overall income. Often confronted with no “good” solutions to the issues that arise, players gain insight into the realities of managing a tight budget with few resources.

Takeaway

There are many different ways to begin learning how to manage and grow your money. Whether you choose to take a class, download a budgeting app or play money management games online, the sooner your start exploring, the sooner you can achieve your financial goals!

If you have had positive experiences with free financial planning resources that you don’t see listed here, share them via our contact form and we’ll post them to the site!