All sites are staffed with trained and certified tax preparation volunteers. Each of these sites can help taxpayers with low- to moderate-income who qualify for this service. The difference between site types lies in what segment of the population they specialize in. See the IRS website for more information.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA)
The VITA Program offers free tax help to low- to moderate-income people who cannot prepare their own tax returns. Certified volunteers receive training to help prepare basic tax returns in communities across the country. Most locations offer free electronic filing.
Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE)
The TCE Program provides free tax help to people aged 60 and older. Trained and certified volunteers from non-profit organizations provide free tax counseling and basic income tax return preparation for senior citizens. Volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS.
As part of the IRS-sponsored TCE Program, AARP offers the Tax-Aide counseling program at many sites during the filing season. Trained and certified AARP Tax-Aide volunteer counselors help people of low-to-middle income with special attention to those age 60 and older.
For more information on TCE, call 1-800-829-1040. To locate the nearest AARP Tax-Aide site, call 1-888-227-7669 or visit AARP’s website.
Virtual VITA uses technology to connect taxpayers with a remote certified volunteer. The taxpayer visits an intake site where a volunteer helps to collect all of the required information and transmit it to a remote site for preparation. The remote tax preparer will set up a time to discuss the return over the phone with the taxpayer, to answer any questions that arise. The taxpayer then returns 1-2 weeks later to sign their prepared tax return so it can be e-filed.
Facilitated Self Assistance (FSA)
FSA lets you prepare your own return online with telephone assistance from VITA/TCE certified tax preparation volunteers as needed. This service also includes free e-filing. Visit My Free Taxes to get started.