If 2015 is shaping up to be a tough year for you financially, you may be tempted to forgo paying for professional tax prep services and go it alone instead. While doing so may save you some extra money, it could cost you in the long run if you miss out on key deductions or tax credits. VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program) can help. IRS-trained volunteers provide free tax filing assistance to anyone who meets one or more of these criteria:
- Household income is $53,000 or less
- If you are a person with a disability
- Limited English speaking
- A senior or retiree
You can find VITA programs in public spaces such as malls, libraries, schools, community centers, and senior centers. The IRS website will post the available sites beginning mid-January. You can find the site locator at
If you’d like to do your taxes yourself under the VITA program, sites that are designated as “self-prep” on the locator page offer qualified taxpayers the opportunity to file their own federal and state returns with the guidance of an IRS-certified volunteer who will assist with any questions or problems.
VITA sites are only available from January through April.
If you are a limited-income senior in need of retirement/pension based tax consulting, the TCE (Tax Counseling for the Elderly) is for you. TCE is similar to VITA in that an IRS-certified volunteer will answer your retirement and pension-based questions and assist you with preparing your federal and state tax returns.
TCE locations are similar to VITA locations: malls, schools, senior/community centers, senior housing developments and libraries. Adults 60 and over are eligible for TCE services. Many TCE sites offer their programs in conjunction with AARP and can be found on the IRS website by typing “TCE” in the search box.
Both the VITA and TCE programs are supported by IRS grants that are awarded to community organizations that meet grant eligibility guidelines. Although tax prep services are only available from January through April, some locations may have been awarded year-round grants that enable them to conduct workshops and tax clinics outside of tax season.
These are just two of the programs available if you are a limited-income taxpayer or senior in need of tax prep help. Trained volunteers can answer your questions, address your concerns and assist you in filing your tax returns.
You don’t need to go it alone on tax filing day. VITA and TCE volunteers will assist you with basic tax questions and will file your return.
If you’re facing a more complex tax matter such as wage garnishment for non-payment of taxes or other issues beyond the reach of VITA and TCE, we are here to help. Just click the white “Start Chat” button in the upper right hand corner of our webpage, or call (888) 224-3004.