Did you know that millions of families get their taxes prepared for free through two programs sponsored by the IRS. These programs are primarily for those people with lower to moderate incomes. There are also benefits for those that are elderly.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance: Make $54,000 or less? This program is commonly known as VITA. The VITA program offers free tax return preparation to eligible taxpayers making less than $54,000.
Tax Counseling for the Elderly: TCE is mainly for people age 60 or older, but offers service to all taxpayers. The program focuses on tax issues focused around seniors. Large firms like AARP participates in the TCE program through AARP Tax-Aide.
The IRS works with local community groups to train and certify thousands of volunteers. Eligible taxpayers should consider taking advantage of these free programs. This includes people with disabilities and people who speak limited English.
Details about VITA and TCE.
Free Tax Prep Around the Country. The IRS works with community organizations to offer free tax help at thousands of sites nationwide. Starting in late January and early February these sites usually begin opening up. You just need to go to this Free Tax Website and put in your zipcode.
Free Electronic Filing. VITA and TCE provide free electronic filing. E-file is the safest, most accurate way to file a tax return. Taxpayers can combine e-file with direct deposit for quicker refunds.
Volunteers Trained to Find Tax Benefits. The IRS identifies and certifies the VITA and TCE volunteers. They help people maximize all the tax benefits for which they are eligible. These include the Earned Income Tax Credit, American Opportunity Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit or the Credit for the Elderly.
Bilingual Help. For those that don’t speak English, some VITA and TCE offices provide language assistance.
Tax Help For Military Families: Many military bases have VITA sites. These sites offer free tax assistance to members of the military and their families. Volunteers assist tax topics associated with being in the military. These include special rules and tax benefits that apply to those serving in areas of war.
Self-Preparation Option. At many VITA sites, people who earn $66,000 or less may be able to prepare their own tax returns. This option is called IRS Free File. This option is for those who do not have a home computer or do not need much help.
For additional ways you can get your taxes prepared for free, check out IRS.gov.
Please keep in mind that new tax bill that was enacted at the end of 2017, does not go into affect until the 2018 Tax Year.