Taxpayers looking for free basic income tax preparation assistance may qualify for IRS sponsored community-based, volunteer tax return preparation programs.
“The IRS sponsors both the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs,” said Clay Sanford, a Dallas-based IRS spokesman. “The VITA program offers free tax help to people who earn less than $49,000 and the TCE program offers free tax help to taxpayers who are 60 and older.”??The IRS trains community volunteers so they can help eligible taxpayers with several special credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit and the Credit for the Elderly. Many volunteer sites have language specialists to assist people with limited English skills.
More than 12,000 free tax preparation sites are open nationwide this year as the IRS continues to expand its partnerships with nonprofit and community organizations performing these vital tax preparation services. As part of the TCE program, AARP offers the Tax-Aide free tax preparation program at more than 6,000 sites nationwide during the filing season. Trained and certified AARP Tax-Aide volunteers provide assistance to taxpayers with low-to-moderate income, with special attention paid to those 60 and older.
Sanford said the military also partners with the IRS to provide free tax assistance to military personnel and their families. The Armed Forces Tax Council consists of the tax program coordinators for the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. Volunteers are trained and equipped to address military-specific tax issues, such as combat zone tax benefits.
Locations and hours of operation are often available through city information hotlines and local community organizations. Local VITA site information is also available at IRS.gov or by calling the IRS toll-free number 1-800-906-9887. To locate the nearest AARP Tax-Aide site, call 1-888-227-7669 (888-AARPNOW) or visit aarp.org.