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Topic 101 - IRS Services – Volunteer Tax Assistance, Outreach Programs, and Identity Theft

The IRS sponsors volunteer assistance programs offering help to taxpayers in many community locations.

VITA

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) offers free tax help by trained volunteers to low to moderate-income taxpayers. VITA sites provide free basic income tax return preparation for individuals and are available locally in most community locations. Volunteers prepare Form 1040A (PDF), Form 1040EZ (PDF), and Form 1040 (PDF). To see if you qualify for this service, see Free Tax Return Preparation for Qualifying Taxpayers.

Trained volunteers can help you determine your eligibility for special credits such as the earned income tax credit (EITC), child tax credit, and credit for the elderly or the disabled. Many VITA sites offer free electronic filing (e-file). Individuals who use the e-file program benefit from a shorter processing time and usually receive their refunds in half the time compared to returns filed on paper – even faster if the refund is deposited directly into a bank account. Note: You should only choose direct deposit of your refund into accounts that are in your own name, your spouse's name, or both if it's a joint account.

To find the locations, dates and hours of availability for the volunteer sites near you, use the VITA locator tool, see Publication 5136 (PDF), download the free IRS2Go app, or call 800-906-9887.

TCE

Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) is another grant program designed to offer free tax assistance to individuals aged 60 years or older with low to moderate incomes. TCE sites are located at convenient community locations. TCE counselors offer free income tax return preparation services and can prepare Form 1040, Form 1040A, Form 1040EZ, and simple Form 1040, Schedule D (PDF). The AARP participates in the TCE program. To locate the nearest VITA/TCE site, use the VITA locator tool, see Publication 5136 (PDF), download the free IRS2Go app, or call 800-906-9887. Visit AARP or call 888-AARPNOW (888-227-7669) to find the nearest AARP site.

What to Bring to Your Local VITA or TCE Site

Before going to your local VITA or TCE site, see Publication 3676-B (PDF) for services provided and What to Bring to Your Local VITA or TCE Site.

Identity Theft

See the Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft for additional information.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: April 14, 2017