If you’re stressed about paying someone to help you get your taxes in order this year, don’t fret. You may not even have to pay them at all.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program from the Internal Revenue Service gives free tax help to those who earn less than $54,000 a year. It also gives preference to those with disabilities and/or limited English-speaking taxpayers.
VITA isn’t the only free tax service from the IRS. You can do your taxes for free with Free File. If you make less than $64,000 annually, you qualify to use Free File. Those making more than $64,000 a year can still use some Free File forms, but must know how to file taxes themselves. If you get to use Free File, keep in mind there are free state options available if you qualify.
If you’re curious if you qualify for VITA, check out what you should bring to your local VITA site.
The IRS also offers help for seniors, with the Tax Counseling for the Elderly program. It’s open to all, but typically geared toward those who are 60 years of age and older. Most of the time, this type of tax help specifies in pension and retirement-related issues and questions that many seniors are curious about when filing.
Both VITA and TCE locations are typically inside community centers, libraries, schools and even shopping malls — places that many people frequent or pass by often. The purpose is to make sure the location is convenient for you so you don’t have to go out of your way for tax help, especially because it’s free.
Regardless of your choice, make sure you have proof of identification with you, like a photo ID, Social Security cards, your Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, wages and earning statements, and other forms.
See if you qualify for VITA.