Senior citizens, like any citizens, can get tax preparation help from many commercial tax preparation companies. Free tax preparation for seniors is also available, especially for those seniors who have low to moderate incomes. Income tax preparation services are provided by volunteers associated with the American Association of Retired Persons through the Internal Revenue Service Volunteer Income Tax Program or the IRS-sponsored Tax Counseling for the Elderly. Most programs offer free electronic filing.
AARP Tax Preparation
According to AARP, nearly 50 million individuals and families have received free tax preparation services through its organization since 1968. The AARP has a formal agreement with the IRS to train volunteers and provide free preparation services at about 6,500 locations around the U.S. libraries, in senior centers and community centers. Starting with just four volunteers, the AARP now fields about 35,000 volunteers annually. To find the nearest AARP site, call 888-227-7669.
VITA Tax Preparation
VITA offers free tax preparation services to low to moderate-income individuals and families nationwide. Low to moderate-income is generally regarded as $49,000 annual income or less. VITA sites are usually located conveniently at schools, libraries, malls, and community centers. VITA sites can be located by calling 800-906-9887.
TCE Tax Preparation
The TCE Program provides free tax preparation services to people aged 60 and older. Volunteers from nonprofit organizations are trained to provide tax counseling and preparation and many of these volunteers are retired seniors. AARP is associated with this IRS-sponsored program. To locate the nearest Tax-Aide site, call 800-829-1040.
What to Bring
Many sites require an appointment to provide tax preparation. Required documents include proof of identification, Social Security cards for each member of the household who will be on your tax return and birthdates for each member of the household. Also bring wage and earnings statements from all employers (W-2, W-2G, 1099), all interest and dividend statements from banks, and bank routing numbers for direct deposit of refunds. If day care expenses have been incurred, the daycare provider’s tax identification number will also be required. If the return is filed jointly, both spouses must be present to sign the return.
Je' Czaja has been writing and illustrating curricula, workbooks, newspaper articles and weekly columns for over 20 years. Her articles have been published in the "St. Augustine Record," the "Valdosta Daily Times," the "Sarasota Herald Tribune" and other regional newspapers. She attended Ringling School of Art, Charter Oak State College, and has a master's degree from the University of Metaphysics.