In the hue and cry about tax season, many US tax filers tend to miss out on benefits made available to them by the IRS. For instance, did you know IRS-certified volunteers provide free-of-cost tax preparation help to taxpayers? This is made possible with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program.
The VITA program provides free tax-filing help to people who make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities and limited English speaking filers who require assistance. Further, qualified individuals can also get free help with basic income tax return preparation.
On the other hand, the TCE program largely helps taxpayers who are 60 years of age and older. TCE volunteers are well-versed with retirement-related issues and questions which specifically deal with seniors. As per the IRS, “The IRS-certified volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS.”
- If you wish to take advantage of these programs, make sure you have the right documents. This includes necessary tax forms, identity proof, etc. Thus, check the What to Bring page before you head over to a VITA or TCE site.
- Generally, VITA and TCE volunteers prepare W-2 and many other common forms. However, it is advised that you check the full list of qualifying forms.
- Check if the VITA site you go to CAA service to taxpayers along with their VITA program.
- Keep in mind that apart from preparing tax returns, volunteers are also trained in helping taxpayers identify if they qualify for tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child and the Dependent Care Credit.
- If a site listing includes “Self-Prep”, you can prepare your own returns using web-based tax preparation software with an IRS-certified volunteer to guide you.
VITA/TCE Sites Near You
Usually, one can find VITA and TCE sites at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls and other convenient locations across the country. To locate the nearest VITA or TCE site near you, use the VITA Locator Tool or call 800-906-9887.
In case you don’t qualify for these programs but still need help with your taxes, we’re here to help! We provide advanced tax filing services for simple and complicated tax returns alike. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org today.