With tax filing time here, many taxpayers can get their taxes prepared for free. The IRS trains and certifies thousands of volunteers to help people meet their tax deadline. People with low to moderate income may benefit from this free tax help through one of these two programs:
- Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. This is for eligible taxpayers who generally earn $56,000 or less, persons with disabilities and limited English-speaking taxpayers.
- Tax Counseling for the Elderly. This is mainly for people age 60 or older due to special attention on tax issues unique to seniors.
Here are some benefits of using these programs:
- They’re Free. IRS certified volunteers help taxpayers complete their taxes without any fees.
- They are conveniently located. Sites are generally located in community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls and other places. These sites are open from February through April. Some sites are open through October.
- Filing is safe and secure. VITA and TCE provide free electronic filing and e-file is the safest, most accurate way to file a tax return. Taxpayers can combine e-file with direct deposit for faster refunds.
- Volunteers are trained on tax law. Volunteers help people get all the tax benefits for which they are eligible. These may include the earned income tax credit, American opportunity tax credit, the child tax credit or the credit for the elderly.
- Assistance is also available in languages other than English. This is available at some VITA and TCE sites.
- Many military bases have VITA sites. Volunteers can help with military tax topics including benefits for those serving in combat zones.
There are several ways taxpayers can find a volunteer tax site near them:
- Use the VITA Locator Tool at IRS.gov
- Download the IRS2Go app
- Call 800-906-9887
- Search for AARP Tax-Aide locations through the AARP Locator or calling 888-227-7669.
Before going to a site, taxpayers should check out the What to Bring page on IRS.gov to make sure they have all the required documents and information. If taxpayers don’t bring all the files and documents, the volunteers may be unable to help them.