Newsletter

Tax Assistance Programs

The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Programs offer free tax help for taxpayers who qualify.

Trained community volunteers may help with special credits, such as Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. In addition to free tax return preparation assistance, most sites also offer free electronic filing (e-filing). Individuals taking advantage of the e-file program will receive their refunds in half the time compared to returns filed on paper – even faster when tax refunds are deposited directly into one's bank account.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program

The VITA Program offers free tax help to low- to moderate-income (generally, $49,000 and below) people who cannot prepare their own tax returns. Certified volunteers sponsored by various organizations receive training to help prepare basic tax returns in communities across the country. VITA sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls, and other convenient locations. Most locations also offer free electronic filing. To locate the nearest VITA site, call 1-800-906-9887.

Tax Counseling for the Elderly
The TCE Program provides free tax help to people aged 60 and older. Trained volunteers from non-profit organizations provide free tax counseling and basic income tax return preparation for senior citizens. Volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS.

As part of the IRS-sponsored TCE Program, AARP offers the Tax-Aide counseling program at more than 7,000 sites nationwide during the filing season. Trained and certified AARP Tax-Aide volunteer counselors help people of low-to-middle income with special attention to those ages 60 and older. For more information on TCE, call 1-800-829-1040. To locate the nearest AARP Tax-Aide site, call 1-888-227-7669 or visit www.aarp.org.

Military personnel and their families get free tax help!
The military also has a strong Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program. The Armed Forces Tax Council (AFTC) consists of the tax program coordinators for the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. The AFTC oversees the operation of the military tax programs worldwide, and serves as the main conduit for outreach by the IRS to military personnel and their families.

Airmen, soldiers, sailors, marines, guardsmen, and their families worldwide receive free tax preparation assistance at offices within their installations. These VITA sites provide free tax advice, tax preparation, and assistance to military members and their families. They are trained and equipped to address military specific tax issues, such as combat zone tax benefits and the effect of the new Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) guidelines.

Most service members file their tax returns electronically at their tax centers and, by selecting direct deposit, receive their refunds in as little as one week. This combined effort ensures that service members receive free tax assistance from well-trained and equipped military tax preparers.

Items to bring to the VITA/TCE site to have your tax return prepared:
Proof of identification
Social Security Cards for you, your spouse and dependents and/or a Social Security Number verification letter issued by the Social Security Administration
Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) assignment letter for you, your spouse and dependents
Proof of foreign status, if applying for an ITIN
Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents on the tax return
Wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, from all employers
Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
A copy of last year's federal and state returns if available
Bank routing numbers and account numbers for Direct Deposit
Total paid for daycare provider and the daycare provider's tax identifying number (the provider's Social Security Number or the provider's business Employer Identification Number)
To file taxes electronically on a married-filing-joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.

It is extremely important that each person use the correct Social Security Number. The most accurate information is usually located on your original Social Security card.

Information courtesy of www.irs.gov

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