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The IRS has a way for taxpayers to file tax returns for free

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK, Sacha, we are about four weeks away from tax day. Certified financial planner Akeiva Ellis says you don't really have much time.

AKEIVA ELLIS: Paperwork can honestly take more time and work than you think.

SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

Ellis co-founded a financial planning firm called The Bemused. She says it helps to consider how your life may have changed the last year. If you changed your job, had a kid, got divorced, that may affect the tax forms you need and how much help you need to file.

INSKEEP: Here's something else. If you made $73,000 or less, you can use the IRS Free File program. If you earned a little bit more, you may still be able to get free tax prep.

PFEIFFER: The AARP's Lynnette Lee-Villanueva says its foundation, called Tax-Aide, will help anyone.

LYNNETTE LEE-VILLANUEVA: It's available to all ages, and - but we particularly serve those over the age of 50 with low to moderate income.

PFEIFFER: She also says even if you don't think you do, most people could use advice.

LEE-VILLANUEVA: If they need questions answered throughout the process, then they can request a coach, and we'll provide them with one that will walk them through that filing service.

INSKEEP: So Tax-Aide offers help in multiple languages at about 3,800 different places, including libraries and senior centers.

LEE-VILLANUEVA: The taxpayer can find a site near them, come in and actually sit down with one of our IRS-certified volunteers and actually have their return prepared for them completely from beginning to end.

PFEIFFER: And if you still don't have enough time, that financial planner we heard from earlier, Akeiva Ellis, she says do not panic.

ELLIS: Anyone can file an extension for your tax return. So don't feel too much pressure to get the return in. As long as you get the taxes paid, you can extend that out till October.

INSKEEP: Now, you can't delay paying, but you can delay filing. Because of natural disasters like storms, the IRS has already granted an automatic extension to taxpayers in much of California and parts of Alabama and Georgia. Anybody living in a FEMA-designated disaster area has until October 16 this year to file. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.