Taxpayers who meet the requirements can receive free tax assistance through the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Programs.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, abbreviated VITA
People who earn $60,000 or less who require assistance in doing their own taxes can typically get it for free through the VITA Program. Qualified persons in the community can receive free basic tax return preparation and electronic filing from volunteers who have received IRS certification. The Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled are just a few of the unique tax credits that they may advise taxpayers about and help them determine if they qualify for them. VITA locations are typically found in shopping areas, libraries, community centers, schools, and other handy places.
The Elderly Tax Counseling Program (TCE)
The TCE Program provides free tax assistance to all, with priority given to those who are 60 years of age or older and a focus on problems regarding pensions and retirement difficulties specific to seniors. Many retired people connected to non-profit groups that get money from the IRS work as IRS-certified volunteers who offer tax assistance.
Prepare taxes on your own
The IRS provides a self-assistance option at several VITA and TCE locations in addition to conventional in-person tax preparation. When people attend one of the participating tax preparation facilities, an IRS-certified volunteer will walk them through the process if they need a little assistance or don’t have access to a computer or have a simple tax return.
Locate a VITA Location Near You
All around the country, there are thousands of VITA locations. Using the VITA Locator Tool or by calling 1-800-906-9887, you can discover a site close to you between January and April.
Locate a TCE or AARP Tax-Aid Location Near You
The AARP Foundation’s Tax Aide Program runs the vast majority of the TCE websites. Between January and April, utilize the AARP Site Locator Tool or dial 888-227-7669 to find the closest TCE or AARP Tax-Aide location.
Items you must have
Bring the following information with you when filing your taxes at a VITA or TCE location:
- Social Security cards with pictures for you, your spouse, and any dependents are acceptable forms of identification, as are letters from the Social Security Administration attesting to the validity of your Social Security number or letters attesting to the assignment of your Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) for you, your spouse, and any dependents.
- Birth dates for you, your spouse, and any dependents shown on your tax return, if you’re applying for an ITIN.
- Statement(s) of wages and earnings W2, W2G, 1099-R, and 1099-Misc forms from all employers.
- Statements of interest and dividends from banks (Forms 1099).
- If available, a copy of the federal and state returns from the previous year.
- Providing evidence, such as a blank check, of bank account routing numbers and account numbers for direct deposit.
- Total amount paid to the daycare provider, along with, if applicable, the provider’s tax identification number (either their Social Security number or their business Employer Identification Number).
- Both spouses must be present to sign the necessary documents in order to electronically submit taxes on a married filing joint tax return.
Everyone must utilize their Social Security number correctly, and this is very important. Your original Social Security card typically has the data that is the most accurate. Fill out Form SS-5, Social Security Number Application, if you or a dependent do not have an SSN. To the closest Social Security Administration office, please submit this form.
You could require an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) if you or a dependent are not qualified to obtain a Social Security Number.