Action Line: IRS sponsors volunteer tax return assistance
BY PHIL MULKINS World Action Line Editor
Thursday, February 23, 2012
2/23/12 at 5:57 AM
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Dear Action Line: What are these volunteer income tax return preparation places that are free? Are they part of the IRS or just people who like preparing taxes? - C.T., Tulsa.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) volunteer programs are sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service. Millions of taxpayers qualify for their free tax preparation assistance, said IRS spokesman David Stell.
More than 12,000 free tax preparation sites are open nationwide this year as the IRS continues to expand its partnerships with nonprofit and community organizations performing these services.
Qualify: VITA offers free tax help to people earning less than $50,000 a year, and most of its locations offer free electronic filing. TCE offers free tax help to people 60 or older.
Credits: The IRS certifies community volunteers so they can help eligible people with tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit and the Credit for the Elderly. Some sites have language specialists to help people with limited English proficiency.
Tax-Aid: As part of the TCE program, AARP operates the Tax-Aide free tax preparation program during the filing season. Trained and certified AARP Tax-Aide volunteers help taxpayers with low-to-moderate incomes, with special attention paid to those 60 and older. Site information is also available by calling 1-800-906-9887. Find the nearest AARP Tax-Aide site by visiting AARP tulsaworld.com/AARP or calling 1-888-227-7669.
Armed Forces Tax Council: IRS partners with the military to provide free tax assistance to military personnel and their families. This consists of the tax program coordinators for the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. Volunteers are trained and equipped to address military-specific tax issues such as combat zone tax benefits.
Where and when: Taxpayers can typically find locations and hours of operation for these volunteer tax preparation services through city information hotlines and local community organizations.
IRS website: Local VITA site information is also available through a new online tool on the IRS website at tulsaworld.com/irs Taxpayers can search the word "VITA" in IRS.gov and click on the option "Free Tax Return Preparation For You by Volunteers," followed by "Find a VITA site near you" to access the tool.
Article & YouTube: See also the volunteer assistance program site at tulsaworld.com/IRSVITA&TCE and "Free Help Preparing Your Tax Return" at tulsaworld.com/VITA&TCEYouTube
Original Print Headline: IRS sponsors volunteer income tax help
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