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The IRS offers a couple of programs to help lower income individuals who need help preparing their income tax return. You can visit the IRS website for more information on these programs. You can also find out where your local contacts for these programs would be by visiting this website.
VITA is one of these free programs offering tax preparation help. It stands for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. Volunteers from various walks of life (all trained in preparing IRS income tax laws), offer their expertise to those needing it.
TCE is the other free tax preparation service/program offered by the IRS. TCE is the acronym for Tax Counseling for the Elderly. The elderly must be low to moderate income (under $39,000 annual gross income) and in need of tax preparation.
AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) has a partnership program with the IRS whereby they provide free tax preparation to those qualifying for it. This combined program offering is titled TaxAide. Check their website at aarp.org for more information. Or, the program is also on the IRS website. You also can call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 for more information about this program.
Free File Alliance is another free tax filing and preparation program offered. It is a combined effort of the IRS and various service providers. Check the IRS website for more information.
Many volunteers involved in these programs are former tax professionals themselves.
Another source for free tax preparation help is your local university, college, and/or business school. These higher education venues may offer free tax preparation, which many taxpayers overlook. Many times advanced level accounting students team up with the community to offer tax preparation (more than likely basic returns) as a way for the students to gain experience. It is an internship of sorts. Of course, the students are under the supervision of their professor. Call your local university to see if they offer any such program.