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Getting Your Taxes Done (for Free)


    You may not have to pay someone to do your taxes this year. Many people can get their taxes done for free. For a list of places you can get your taxes done for free, visit Michigan Free Tax Help.

    Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

    Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is a program that does people's taxes for free. To qualify, your income must be roughly $54,000.00 or less. If you qualify, an IRS-certified volunteer will do your taxes for free. VITA volunteers can tell you about special tax credits you may qualify for, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled.

    Use the VITA site locator to find a site near you. Check with your local VITA site for dates and times you can get help with your taxes, or call 2-1-1. Call 888-636-4211 if your area doesn’t have 2-1-1. The IRS also offers links to sites that provide free filing services at

    The IRS also gives links to online software you can use to prepare and file your own federal tax return. If your income is less than $62,000.00, you can use free software available at IRS Free File to prepare your federal and possibly your state tax returns.

    Documents you need to do your taxes

    You need certain documents and information regardless of how you plan on doing your taxes.

    Proof of your identity and tax status

    If someone is doing your taxes, you need to show that person your driver’s license or state ID. If you are married and filing a joint return, both you and your spouse need to be there while that person is doing your taxes. You and your spouse need to sign the return before it's filed.

    If you are doing your taxes yourself, you need Social Security numbers or Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) for yourself, your spouse, and any dependents you may have. 

    Income Statements or Forms:

    Most income statements for 2015 were mailed in January 2016. Bring all of the following documents that you have gotten:

    • Wages (W-2 or 1099 forms from all jobs worked in 2015)
    • Unemployment (Form 1099-G)
    • Pension (Form 1099-R)
    • Social Security (Form SSA-1099)
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Letter from SSA
    • Interest/Dividends (Form 1099-INT or 1099-DIV)
    • DHHS Assistance (DHHS Annual Statement)
    • Child Support (Child Support Annual Statement)
    • Gambling/Lottery Winnings (Form W-2G)
    • Miscellaneous Income (Form 1099-MISC)
    • A copy of your 2014 tax return, if available
    • Any other income documents you may have

    Proof of Certain Expenses

    To get some credits and deductions on your tax return, you need to show exactly how much you spent on some things in the past year. Bring documents that show

    • A purchase of new home or car
    • Energy efficient home appliances and improvements (receipts should show Energy Star Rating) for insulation, windows, furnace, air conditioning system, water heater, refrigerator, clothes washer, dishwasher
    • Residential electric bills
    • Medical or HMO premiums paid for yourself and/or your family
    • Any Affordable Care Act Statements (Forms 1095-A, 1095-B, and 1095-C)
    • Dependent care expenses
    • Student loan interest or cost of tuition and course materials

    The Michigan Homestead Property Tax Credit

    If you are a homeowner, you need proof of the taxable value of your home. You also need your summer and winter property tax bills for 2015.

    If you rent your home, you need your lease or rental contract, rent receipts for 2015, and your landlord’s name and address.

    The Michigan Home Heating Credit

    Both renters and homeowners can qualify for this credit on their Michigan tax returns. Bring proof of the amount you spent on heating your home for the year. You can find this information in your December, January and February gas and electric bills. For 2015 taxes, the period will be 11/1/2014 to 10/31/2015.

    Direct Deposit Option:

    Direct deposit is the fastest and safest way to get your refunds. To have your state and federal refunds directly deposited into your bank or credit union account, bring your bank’s name, routing number, and your checking or savings account number.

    The Accounting Aid Society has created this checklist you can print to help you gather the documents you need.