Where to get free tax help
Some people might qualify for free tax return filing, but not everyone can take advantage of it. There are also some people who might have tax questions and need some preparation help. Luckily, there are sites and places to visit that offer free tax help.
You can get free tax help based on your income, age or other factors, like if you have a disability. Here’s where you can explore free tax help.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
VITA is offered by the IRS for people who meet one of the following:
- Those who make less than $56,000.
- People with disabilities.
- Older filers, including senior citizens.
- Those who speak little English.
VITA is at the community level. You can find VITA help through community centers, libraries, schools and similar locations. Find VITA help near you.
Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE)
While VITA might serve elderly filers, TCE specifically targets senior citizens. Keep in mind, though, that you can still use TCE services even if you aren’t 60 years of age or older.
TCE specializes in retirement-related concerns, including information about pensions and other retirement plans. This help comes from IRS-certified volunteers. TCE help is usually offered in the same place as VITA: community-related places. Look for TCE help in your neighborhood.
AARP Foundation Tax-Aide
AARP offers free tax prep every year from Feb. 1 through Tax Day, April 15. You don’t have to be an AARP member to use this service. Typically, Tax-Aide helps low- and moderate-income taxpayers. The program has been around for more than 50 years and has helped 68 million taxpayers.
Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TAC)
TACs give taxpayers a place to solve their tax-related issues on:
They will also field other tax-related concerns, like account information. TACs are closed on federal holidays and operate by appointment only. You can find a TAC near you but keep in mind the one closest to you might not be conveniently located.
Military OneSource, or MilTax, is offered by the Department of Defense in partnership with H&R Block for those serving in active duty. It also covers their spouses, dependent children and survivors.
The service provides free tax software as well as resources for military personnel and their families, like financial and legal help. You can get help by phone or live chat. If possible, you might get free in-person help if you live on or near a base.
Free filing services
When you qualify for free filing services through software like H&R Block and TurboTax, you also get access to free assistance. If you’re planning to file your taxes for free, you might want to check with your software to see what types of help they offer. Some offers might require you to pay an additional fee for support, but not everyone charges for this service.
Universities or nonprofits
Sometimes you can find help from up-and-coming professionals. If you have a question or concern about your filing, contact your local university law or business school. You might find a student who would appreciate the training assisting with your request.
You can also contact tax clinics. The IRS has The Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) Program that helps those who otherwise can’t hire legal help. It’s free or low-cost for taxpayers who qualify. Each clinic determines which clients meet guidelines and eligibility.
Many community-supported organizations are also available, but not every state, city or county offers the same services. You might want to see what’s offered in your area before enlisting the help of a professional you’d need to pay. Some of these services are reserved for people who need legal help when facing lawsuits or related issues from the IRS. So if you have a non-pressing tax question, you might not qualify for tax clinic help.
You may also want to try a local tax professional. Many of them offer free consultations to help you decide if you should file on your own or with the help of an expert. You can do a simple online search or see if the National Society of Accountants can help you find someone in your area.
If you have questions about your return, how to file or anything related to your taxes, you can call the IRS helpline at 1-800-829-1040. There’s no limit on how often you can call, and if it can, the helpline will provide you with as much information as it can. Even if you’re unsure if your question will have an answer, it’s best to try first. The IRS might be able to point you in the right direction to get the help you need.