How to Qualify for Free Tax Preparation

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

According to an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimate, 70 percent of all tax payers qualify for free tax preparation. Every tax season the IRS issues guidelines on which tax payers will qualify for free tax preparations. This means that some tax payers who qualify one year may not qualify during the next tax cycle. Currently, individuals and families with combined adjusted gross incomes of $57,000 or less qualify for a number of free tax preparation programs and individuals with an adjusted gross income of $51,000 or less qualify for personalized free VITA tax preparation. To make an informed decision on which program to use, qualifying tax payers need to know what programs are available.

<strong>IRS FREE VITA LOCATIONS</strong>
The IRS has a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program for individuals with $51,000 or less in total income. The IRS provides trained volunteers who help individuals with filling out tax forms and with information for any potential tax credits. The service also provides free electronic filing from the majority of thousands of VITA locations across America. Some VITA sites are located in community centers, public libraries, shopping centers and public schools. VITA locations are available during the tax filing season. Individuals can find a location near any zip code by calling 1-800-906-9887 from mid-January to the end of April.

<strong>IRS AND AARP FREE TCE LOCATIONS</strong>
The IRS has a Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program for individuals aged 60 and older. Many of the IRS certified volunteers are retired people working with non-profit organizations who can help seniors with pension and retirement income situations. The majority of the on-site TCE locations are provided by the AARP Foundation’s Tax Aide Program and operational during the tax filing season. Individuals can find an IRS TCE or an AARP Tax Aide location near any zip code by calling 1-888-227-7669 between the end of January and mid-April.

<strong>FREE IRS PREPARATION AND FILING ONLINE</strong>
The IRS provides free tax preparation and filing for individuals or families with income of $57,000 or less. When someone has all the required information, W-2s, 1099s, or other proof of income, and is ready to fill out the online forms, help is available at www.irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep/ or by calling 1-800-829-1040. This system is easier and faster than filling out and mailing in the paper forms. Tax payers are able to check on the status of their filings three days after electronic submissions.

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