Tax Preparation

Free tax preparation | Private finance

The tax season is just around the corner, accompanied by many new federal tax changes. If you’re one of the many Americans struggling to fill out your tax forms, the IRS – yes, this IRS – may be able to offer you free assistance.

The IRS offers the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program to certain taxpayers who need help preparing their tax returns. The program is generally available to people earning $ 57,000 a year or less, taxpayers with disabilities, or those who have difficulty understanding English. VITA locations are spread across American community centers, libraries, shopping malls, and other public locations.

The VITA program consists of IRS certified volunteers who can help with basic tax preparation questions and in some cases electronic filing. The filing recommendation covers many of the popular tax forms and their implications, including many types of 1099 forms. The 1099 forms show income from sources ranging from interest and dividends to social security or unemployment benefits and IRA contributions.

VITA employees may be able to help with complex tax issues, e.g. B. in house sales, health savings accounts and self-employment. Within certain limits, VITA employees can also respond to single item deductions and changed returns. More complex cases such as Schedule C forms with losses may be outside of VITA’s expertise and should definitely be forwarded to a tax advisor.

Here are the most important things you need to bring to the VITA location:

  • Basic information – Identification for you and your spouse as well as dates of birth and social security cards / individual tax identification numbers for you, your spouse and all dependent persons.
  • to shape – All W-2 and 1099 forms, a copy of your tax return from the previous year, and all 1095 forms (the health insurance returns).
  • Additional Information – All information that documents other income and provides evidence of entitlement for deductions or credits. If you have a direct deposit refund, you will need to bring the account information and routing number for that account.

Check with VITA or the IRS for any additional supporting documents you may need prior to your visit. For more information on the services provided, see IRS Publication 3676-B.

If your registration status is “married together”, both spouses must be present at the VITA meeting.

For people over 60 looking for assistance, the Elderly Tax Advisory Program (TCE) offers free tax assistance aimed at senior-specific issues such as pensions and retirement plans. These websites are operated by AARP, but are also staffed with IRS-certified volunteers. TCE volunteers are usually retirees themselves and are usually associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants to open and maintain VITA / TCE locations.

For more information or VITA or TCE websites in your area, please visit the IRS website. There are tabs available to use Google Maps to find either VITA or TCE facilities. If you prefer the old school approach, you can also call 800-906-9887 for directions to the nearest location and answers to other questions about the VITA and TCE programs.

Both VITA and TCE provide tax assistance to an underserved section of taxpayers who cannot afford professional tax preparation or who have difficulty understanding the rules and forms required. If you think you qualify and need assistance, give us a call. It’s not worth risking potentially costly tax errors, especially when the support is free and IRS certified. You’ve probably given enough of your money to the IRS over the years; Now, let them help you in return – pun intended.

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Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich from Pexels

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