Tax Preparation

VITA and TCE-IRS free tax preparation packages accessible to the general public | opinion

It’s that time of year, TAX TIME! Where to prepare your taxes for free is a question that concerns most consumers these days.

The IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs offer qualified individuals a free property tax return. These services help low to middle income people, people with disabilities, seniors, and limited English speakers file their taxes each year.

The IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs offer qualified individuals a free property tax return. While the IRS administers the VITA and TCE programs, the VITA / TCE administers

Websites are run by IRS partners and are staffed by volunteers who want to make a difference in their communities.

The IRS VITA program has been in operation for over 50 years. VITA sites provide free tax assistance to people who need help preparing their own tax returns, including:

 Individuals who generally make $ 57,000 or less

 people with disabilities; and

 Limited English speaking taxpayers

VITA / TCE’s services are not only free, but also a reliable and trustworthy source for preparing tax returns. All VITA / TCE tax filing volunteers are required to complete and pass training in tax law that meets or exceeds IRS standards.

This training also includes maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of all taxpayer information, which is very important as identity theft is widespread during tax season.

In addition to requiring volunteers to certify their knowledge of tax laws, the IRS requires a quality review for any declaration made at a VITA / TCE location prior to filing.

Before visiting any VITA or TCE site, call to find out what services are on offer and also ask them what to bring to make sure you have all the necessary documents and information the volunteers need, to help you. In addition, not all locations prepare all types of returns. The services available may vary at each location due to the availability of volunteers with the tax knowledge required for your return.

VITA and TCE locations are generally located in community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls, and other convenient locations across the country. To find the nearest VITA location in your area, use the VITA Locator Tool at https://irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep/ or call 800-906-9887.

When looking for a TCE site, keep in mind that most TCE sites are operated by the AARP Foundation’s Tax Aide program.

To find the AARP TCE Tax Aide site closest to you, use the AARP Site Locator Tool at http://www.aarp.org/applications/VMISLocator/searchTaxAideLocations.action or call 888-227-7669.

Southern Bancorp is again offering VITA, a free tax preparation service, in designated offices in Arkansas and Mississippi. Be sure to call your local office to find out if they prepare taxes and ask for the start date as well. Also, some locations only offer virtual and drop-off options.

For more information, call me at 662-624-5776 or email me at Charlestien.harris@southernpartners.org.

See you next week — stay financially fit!

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