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Free Tax Prep for People Making less than 60K, Seniors, and People with Disabilities

2024-01-15

Find VITA and TCE sites for free filing from IRS-trained and trusted preparers across the city

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Tax formsPhoto byKelly SikkemaonUnsplash

Every tax season I'm amazed by how many people pay popular companies or their neighborhood pop-up tax shop because they've never heard of VITA or TCE. If you only worked 1 or 2 jobs and you're not a homeowner, or you're a student worker or a senior who can file an EZ form - there is no need to pay someone to prepare and file your taxes.

Any person who makes less than $60,000 and/or has a disability or is a senior citizen could have their taxes prepared and filed for FREE by VITA or TCE, an IRS program. This is not a scam - this program has been around for years.

Have you heard of VITA and TCE?

According to the IRS.gov website, The IRS's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs offer free basic tax return preparation to qualified individuals.

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

  • People who generally make $60,000 or less
  • Persons with disabilities; and
  • Limited English-speaking taxpayers
While the IRS manages the VITA and TCE programs, the VITA/TCE sites are operated by IRS partners and staffed by volunteers who want to make a difference in their communities. The IRS-certified volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS.

I know for a fact that VITA/TCE services are free and a trusted source for tax preparation because I've used them over the years and I've also trained to be VITA tax preparer when I was in college.

WARNING: Don't get scammed - VITA/TCE-trained and approved sites like Congresso can only be found through IRS.gov or 211 and they NEVER charge for preparation or filing.

Secondly, it's been my experience that you get your refund just as fast as the for-profit places if you use direct deposit. Please make sure you use the correct routing and account numbers or it will delay your refund (no matter who files it).

The IRS.gov website says, "All VITA/TCE volunteers who prepare returns must take and pass tax law training that meets or exceeds IRS standards. This training includes maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of all taxpayer information. In addition to requiring volunteers to certify their knowledge of the tax laws, the IRS requires a quality review check for every return prepared at a VITA/TCE site prior to filing. "
Before going to a VITA or TCE site, see Publication 3676-B PDF for services provided and check out What to Bring to ensure you have all the required documents and information our volunteers will need to help you.

Why waste your money on an essential service the IRS provides for free?

For more information about VITA and TCE you can visit the IRS website or to find an official VITA or TCE site, you go to the PA 211 website or IRS site finder.


Thank you for reading.

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