Number of tax returns prepared by volunteers in 2017, providing over $4 billion in refunds
Average savings for a taxpayer as a result of accessing free tax preparation.
What is Free Tax Preparation?
There are many free tax preparation options available. Each program and service has different eligibility options and must be verified individually for qualifications. However, on average, households with an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $66,000 or less will qualify for free tax preparation and filing. Eligibility criteria can change from year to year, so check the options for eligibility with the service you choose prior to utilizing, and always be sure to CHECK http://irs.gov.
Free Tax Preparation Options
The IRS, in conjunction with a variety of non-profit organizations and tax software vendors, provide free tax preparation services to qualifying taxpayers. Free Tax Preparation options include e-filing with direct deposit of refunds - the fastest, most secure way for taxpayers to file their return and receive refunds.
Facilitated Self-Assistance Model (FSA) or Self Tax Prep Model
Using this free tax preparation option, taxpayers use a do-it-yourself model to prepare their own returns with the assistance of a certified volunteer and self-preparation software. Assistance may be provided via tax coach, helpline or online chat services.
Popular FSA/Self Tax Prep Options
MyFreeTaxes provides self-paced, step-by-step guidance to file tax returns online with assistance from IRS certified tax volunteers via hotline or online chat.
Freefile is available in two formats:
- FreeFile software - Self-paced, step-by-step guidance to file tax returns online.
- FreeFile fillable forms - Fillable forms for tax filers to complete their taxes and e-file.
IRS Trained Certified Volunteer Assisted Sites
Eligible taxpayers can visit designated locations to have their taxes prepared and filed, on-site, free of charge.
To find a local site providing services in your local community visit:
Programs in your local community may include:
- VITA - Volunteer Income Tax Assistance: Generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls and other convenient locations across the country.
- AARP Tax Aide: The AARP Foundation runs the Tax-Aide program, which provides free assistance with tax preparation at more that 5,000 locations nationwide.
- TCE - Tax Counseling for the Elderly: Majority of the TCE sites are operated by the AARP Foundation’s Tax Aide Program
- Virtual VITA: Uses same process as traditional VITA/TCE except the preparer and taxpayer are not face to face. Technology is used to connect the certified volunteer tax preparer with the taxpayer and technology includes internet, fax, and video.
What is the EITC and who is eligible?
Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) is the federal and state income tax credit available to low and moderate-income working families and individuals. Often called the nation's best, long-term economic stimulus program, EITC gives working families the boost they need to make rent or mortgage payments, buy needed food, medicine and other essentials, improve their quality of life, and contribute to the economy. The credit changes every year and is based on earnings, number of qualifying children and marital status. A qualifying child is determined by age, the relationship to the filer, how long the filer and child have lived together in the U.S. and whether the child has filed a joint return. To claim the earned income tax credit, a tax return must be filed with the IRS with proper documentation.