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How to get Free Tax Prep Help

March 19, 2015

Taxpayers that cannot afford to hire professional tax preparation help, or need assistance due to language and other difficulties, can get free tax return preparation. The IRS offers no-cost services to qualifying taxpayers during the tax filing season. IRS-certified volunteers provide basic tax preparation assistance at various centers across the country.

The two programs run by the IRS to provide free tax help are:

  • The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), and
  • The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE)

The VITA program can be used by taxpayers that make $53,000 or less annually. The elderly, people with disabilities, those with limited understanding of English, and taxpayers that cannot afford to hire tax preparation help can receive assistance from the IRS. Some types of problems that taxpayers can get help with at a VITA site include claiming deductions, credits, filing status, calculations, filing of the return, and questions about tax forms.

The TCE program is especially designed to help the elderly prepare their taxes. Taxpayers can have their questions answered about pensions, retirement accounts, and retirement-related issues by IRS-certified volunteers. Like the VITA, the TCA offers free tax help.

When visiting a VITA or a TCE site, taxpayers must ensure that they bring all required documents and information. These include:

  • Proof of Identity
  • Social security cards, or the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) assignment letter
  • Wage and earning statements
  • Birth dates documents
  • A copy of the last filed tax return

Taxpayers may find a VITA or a TCE site in their area by using the IRS VITA or TCE locator. Alternatively, they may call 800-906-9887.


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