Credit Infocenter

How to Get Free Tax Help from Preparers Trained and Certified by IRS

March 14th, 2016 · No Comments · Taxes

by Kristy Welsh

(Last Updated On: January 18, 2018)

How to Get Free Tax Help from Preparers Trained and Certified by IRS

If you’d like help with your taxes but can’t afford to pay for it, look into the free tax preparation offered via volunteer programs nationwide. These volunteers are trained and certified by the IRS to help those with low-to-moderate income, the elderly, and military personnel. You’ll not only save money on the tax prep itself, but having a professional help you out could get you a bigger return — money you could use to pay down debt during the credit repair process.

Free Tax Help Programs

1) IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

You may qualify for this free service if you:

  • Made less than $54,000 in 2015
  • Have a disability
  • Are elderly
  • Have limited English proficiency

2) Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE)

Despite its name, TCE evidently provides free tax help to anyone. They do, however, specialize in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues.

Both VITA and TCE volunteers are prepared to answer questions about Earned Income Tax Benefits, as well as the Child and Dependent Tax Credit.

There are thousands of these sites nationwide. To find a VITA or TCE location near you, use this locator tool, download the IRS2Go app to your smartphone, or call 800-906-9887.

3) Armed Forces Tax Council (AFTC)

This free service is offered to military personnel and their families. These volunteers are trained to address military-specific tax issues, like combat zone benefits and the effect of EITC guidelines.

What to Expect

For best results, take a look at what to expect from these free programs, as outlined in this quick-reference guide provided by the IRS. It includes:

  • What they will prepare
  • What they won’t prepare
  • What you need to bring with you

For instance, they can prepare tax returns for income reported on a W-2 or 1099. They cannot prepare returns requiring use of Schedule C to report losses, among other things.

As for what to bring, you can probably guess at the basics, like your ID, all your W-2s and 1099s, and your spouse if you are filing jointly. But there are several other things you may need to bring that may not be so obvious – like a copy of last year’s return or proof of your bank account for a direct deposit refund – so be sure to review the list.

Expecting a Tax Refund?

Read this before you file and spend.

Tags: ·

No Comments so far ↓

There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment