Programs like the IRS sponsored Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or VITA, and the AARP Tax-Aide help lower income families as well as the elderly file their income tax returns for free. The federal government has increased funding for the services over the years, so more people across the country can be helped.
As part of these programs, they are given access to a variety of support services, ranging from tips on applying to credits, free e-filing, information on deductions and more. Many of the programs are provided by highly trained volunteers, who are certified by the IRS. Tens of thousands of low income families will be able to take advantage of the service.
There are a few different options that people have. They include the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program which offers free tax help and will prepare state or federal returns for people who earn less than $49,000. Another option is the Tax Counseling for the Elderly Program (TCE), which offers information as well as advice. As part of this, highly trained staff will also prepare returns to taxpayers who are 60 and older.
To apply for free tax returns from volunteers and other organizations it is recommended that taxpayers call their local community action agency. These non-profit organizations may sometimes coordinate the programs in your local community. If they are not the lead agency, they will usually be able to direct you to who to contact for more information.
Trying to navigate the income tax system can be intimidating for many people. The process is even becoming more complicated with the ever changing rules and regulations. Many people, no matter there educational level, are wary of doing their own taxes. Not only that, if you hire someone to do them for you, some companies may send you a bill for $100 to prepare your taxes. The income tax code in the United States extremely complicated, and the rules and regulations itself is thousands of pages long.
But there are options. These services, such as VIA, use highly trained staff. Not only that, on the other hand, this free service will help those consumers who need it most keep that money.
This assistance program is volunteer-driven, and it also aims to alert people to all available tax credits as well as deductions that they may not have previously known about or filed for. Since the code is constantly evolving, and new credits are always being added at the federal government level, it can be all but impossible to keep up.
VITA volunteers save tens of thousands of families millions of dollars per year in total. There are also hundreds of thousands of tax returns filed by AARP volunteer. The service is available to many people and they may not even realize they qualify. Across the nation hundreds of thousands of individuals benefit from this free income tax filing program.
While the programs are effective, more volunteers are needed to help do the income tax filing and help people prepare returns. The non-profits that run these also encourage bilingual people to apply. If they enjoy working with numbers and people, it is very gratifying way to give back to those that are less fortunate. It can also provide some individuals much needed work experience.
When volunteering for one of these government sponsored services, maybe the best thing is that you do not need any experience with taxes because the IRS will provide free training starting in January of each year. So individuals who volunteer can not only give back to the community by helping others, but they will also gain a new skill and certification from the government, which can maybe help people land a full time job in the income tax field.
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