You are responsible for what’s on your tax return. Being ready with the right documents to prepare your return saves you time and reduces the chance of mistakes. See our article, Be Prepared to Get the EITC You Earned, to find out what you need to have ready before preparing your return or to bring to your preparer.
Free Help Preparing your Return
Visit a volunteer site. Trained community volunteers can help you by preparing your return and determining if you qualify for EITC and other refundable credits. Find a location for free tax return preparation by volunteers here.
If You Prepare Your Own Tax Return, Check Out Free File and Fillable Tax Forms
Let Free File do the hard work for you with brand-name software. You can prepare and e-file your federal return free. Participating software companies make their products available through the IRS. Some also support state tax returns.
Or, use Fillable Forms online versions of our paper forms designed for people comfortable preparing their own tax returns. This option does not offer state tax returns and performs only basic calculations. But, you can submit the completed forms to IRS electronically for faster, accurate processing.
What to Expect from Your Preparer, Paid or Volunteer
- Your preparer, whether paid or volunteer, is required to ask you multiple questions to determine your correct income, expenses, deductions and credits. Avoid an audit, additional tax, penalties or interest by giving your preparer all the needed information and answering all questions. See our article, Consequences of Errors on Your EITC Return for more information.
- Your preparer should review your return with you before you sign. Remember you are responsible for what’s on your return so make sure you understand what’s on your return and that it is complete and correct before you sign. And, never sign a blank form.
- Your paid preparer must enter his or her Preparer Tax Identification number or PTIN and sign the return. Returns prepared at a volunteer site should have the site identification number but the non-paid volunteer does not sign the return.
- A copy of your return for you to keep that matches what you signed.
Publication 4717, Help Your Tax Preparer Get You the EITC You Earned
For a printed version of the information above and more, order Publication 4717 here. Publication 4717, Help Your Tax Preparer Get You the EITC You Earned, explains why your preparer asks the questions they do and the importance of providing accurate information to save time and reduce the chance of mistakes. It also covers the consequences of filing an EITC claim in error; one side is in English and the other Spanish.