Free income tax form preparation and E-filing are available through the IRS by the Volunteer income Tax Assistance Program and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly. Volunteers are trained to help with special credits, such as Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. Most sites offer free electronic filing (E-filing). Tax refunds are returned within days when E-filed and direct deposited in a bank account.
The free tax help is available to low-to moderate-income people ($49,000 and below) who cannot prepare their own tax returns. Tax prep sites are located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls, and other convenient locations. Most VITA locations offer electronic filing. To locate the nearest VITA site, call 1-800-906-9887. A partial VITA site list is online in January, but does not include every tax preparation site. The page can be bookmarked for later reference.
Free Tax Preparation for the Elderly
Free tax preparation and tax counseling for the elderly is provided through non-profit organizations. These non-profit organizations receive grants from the IRS Tax Counseling for the Elderly Program (TCE) to train volunteers that provide free tax counseling and basic income tax return preparation for senior citizens. AARP offers the Tax-Aide counseling and tax preparation program at more than 7,000 sites throughout the country during the filing season. People of low-to-middle income are helped and special attention to those ages 60 and older. To contact TCE for more information, call 1-800-829-1040. To locate the nearest AARP Tax-Aide site, call 1-888-227-7669 or visit AARP’s website.
Free Tax Preparation for Military
VITA has a strong income tax preparation presence for the Armed Forces. The Armed Forces Tax Council (AFTC) helps prepare and file taxes for the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. The AFTC is the main outreach by the IRS to military personnel and their families worldwide.
Military personnel receive free tax preparation, advice, and filing assistance at offices within their installations. The VITA personnel are trained to address specific tax issues to the military, such as combat zone tax benefits and Earned Income Tax Credits. Electronically filing of tax returns and by selecting direct deposit will have the refund deposited in the bank in as little as one week.
Items to bring:
• Proof of identification
• Social Security Cards for you, your spouse and dependents
• Birth dates for you, your spouse, and dependents
• Current year’s tax return
• Wage and earning statements, Form W-2, W-02G, 1099-R
• Interest and dividend statements from banks
• Copy of last year’s federal and state returns
• Bank routing numbers and account numbers for Direct Deposit
• Total paid for daycare provided and the daycare provider’s tax identifying number
• To file taxes electronically when filing joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.