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Free Tax Preparation Help for Seniors From the IRS


Date published: 2024-3-6

Tax time is here again

Make tax time easier for yourself and your older adult by getting free help from tax experts.

Many older adults have pensions, pre-death life insurance benefits, IRA or 401K savings, or other financial assets.

This can make preparing and filing their taxes more complicated.

To make it easier to do their taxes, you may want to consider getting expert help from an IRS-sponsored tax center at no charge.

We found two IRS-sponsored programs that offer no-cost tax help, show how to find a location near you, and recommend three important things to do before visiting one of these tax centers.

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2 programs provide free, expert tax preparation help for seniors

The IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs provide free basic tax return preparation to those who qualify.

These two free IRS programs are great places to get qualified tax help at no charge.

The IRS-certified volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS.

VITA and TCE sites are usually located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls, and other convenient locations.

1. Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, especially those 60 years or older.

They specialize in answering questions about pensions and retirement-related issues that are common among seniors.

Note: A majority of the TCE sites are operated by the AARP Foundation’s Tax Aide program. Between January and April, locate the nearest AARP TCE Tax-Aide site here.

2. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $56,000 or less, persons with disabilities, and limited English speaking taxpayers.

For those that qualify, IRS-certified volunteers help with basic income tax return preparation and electronic filing.

Are the IRS-certified volunteers knowledgeable and  trustworthy?

All VITA/TCE volunteers who prepare returns must take and pass tax law training that meets or exceeds IRS standards.

This includes training on maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of all taxpayer information.

In addition, the IRS requires a quality review check for every return prepared at a VITA/TCE site before the return is filed.

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3 things to do before visiting a TCE or VITA tax help center

1. Make sure the services you need are offered by TCE or VITA Before considering getting help from TCE or VITA, check here to make sure the services you need are offered.

And after entering your zip code in the IRS locator, you’ll be able to see information about nearby locations and important details like what languages are offered and whether or not you’ll need to make an appointment.

2. Call ahead to make sure volunteers are available to provide needed services at that location Call ahead to make sure the local VITA or TCE center has available volunteers that can provide the specific services needed for your older adult’s tax situation.

Because each location depends on volunteer expertise, they can’t guarantee having every service at every location and time slot.

3. Bring all necessary documents Review the information on the IRS’ What to Bring page to make sure you have all the required documents and information.

The volunteers will need all this info in order to help your older adult with their taxes.

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By DailyCaring Editorial Team

This article wasn’t sponsored and doesn’t contain affiliate links. For more information, see How We Make Money.

 

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