Free Tax Preparation via VITA

Posted on 24. Jan, 2006 by in News, Taxes

TaxesPuzzled by the tax law or which credits and deductions to take? Need assistance with your tax return?

You may want to visit a volunteer site. The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program or the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Program offer free tax help if you qualify.

Trained community volunteers can help you with special credits, such as Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly for which you may qualify. In addition to free tax return preparation assistance, many sites also offer free electronic filing (e-filing). Individuals taking advantage of the e-file program will receive their refunds in half the time compared to returns filed on paper – even faster if you have your refund deposited directly into your bank account.

I have personally worked in a VITA office during college to help out my fellow students with their taxes. The VITA Program offers free tax help to low- to moderate-income ($37,000 and below) people who cannot prepare their own tax returns. Volunteers sponsored by various organizations receive training to help prepare basic tax returns in communities across the country. VITA sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls, and other convenient locations. Most locations also offer free electronic filing. To locate the nearest VITA site, call 1-800-829-1040.

There is also help for the elderly! The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Program provides free tax help to people age 60 and older. Trained volunteers from non-profit organizations provide free tax counseling and basic income tax return preparation for senior citizens. Volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS.

As part of the IRS-sponsored TCE Program, AARP offers the Tax-Aide counseling program at more than 9,000 sites nationwide during the filing season. Trained and certified AARP Tax-Aide volunteer counselors help people of low-to-middle income with special attention to those age 60 and older.

For more information on TCE call 1-800-829-1040. To locate the nearest AARP Tax-Aide site, call 1-888-227-7669 or visit AARP’s Internet site.

However, be sure to ask your local VITA site what you need to bring with you – the most frustrating thing for a VITA volunteer is to tell you that you need to come back later with W2s, a Social Security Card, or some other documentation.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. BeancounterBlog.com » How to Hire a Tax Professional - February 10, 2006

    […] Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA): The VITA Program offers free tax help for low- to moderate-income (approximately $38,000) people who cannot prepare their own tax returns. Volunteers, sponsored by various organizations, receive training to help prepare basic tax returns in communities across the country. Check out the IRS website or my previous post for more info. […]

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