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Free Tax Preparation and Tax Problem Resolution Services

Where to find free help for preparing your taxes and resolving tax problems.

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A variety of non-profits, universities and even local Internal Revenue Service offices provides tax preparation assistance and tax problem resolution services to the public for free. Here's a list of programs providing free tax preparation and free tax problem resolution services.

 

Free Tax Preparation Services

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, or VITA, is a community of volunteers who provide tax preparation services for people earning $52,000 or less. VITA will help you prepare your tax return, and most will file your tax returns electronically. You can find a local VITA site by calling toll-free 1-800-906-9887. You can also find a list of some VITA locations on the Treasury Department's Web site. VITA is funded partly by grants from the IRS.

The Armed Forces Tax Council provides free tax preparation assistance for military personnel and is a part of the IRS-funded VITA program. Volunteers are especially trained in tax issues frequently encountered by people who work for the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard. You can learn more about tax services provided and about the military-based Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program on Military OneSource. For people who want to prepare their own return, Military One Source provides free access to H&R Block At Home where you can file your federal return and up to three state tax returns at no charge. You can also speak to a tax advisor at no charge by calling the Military OneSource Tax Hotline at 1-800-730-3802.

Tax Counseling for the Elderly provides free tax preparation for people age 60 or older, and like the VITA program is funded in part by grants from the IRS. You can find a Tax Counseling for the Elderly location by calling, toll-free, 1-888-227-7669.

Tax-Aide from AARP provides free tax preparation for people and are operated very similiarly to the VITA and Tax Counseling for the Elderly. You can find a local Tax-Aide site by calling, toll-free, 1-888-227-7669 or by visiting AARP.org/taxaide.

Before visiting one of these free tax preparation programs, you may want to call ahead to schedule an appointment. Also, be sure to bring your tax documents with you, along with your Social Security card and a driver's license or other form of identification. The volunteers at these sites will ask you to fill out a two-page questionnaire called Form 13614-C, which you can download from the IRS.gov Web site and fill out ahead of time.

 

Free Tax Problem Resolution Services

If you need assistance in dealing with the IRS, setting up payment arrangements for an outstanding tax debt, or dealing with an audit, or understanding letters you received from the IRS, you can seek free or low-cost assistance from the following programs.

Low-Income Tax Clinics provide free or low-cost assistance to taxpayers who need help resolve tax problems such as income tax audits and resolving collection disputes over outstanding tax balances. Tax Clinics can also provide you with legal representation if you need to go to Tax Court to resolve your problems. Tax Clinics also provide assistance to people whose primary language is other than English. Tax Clinics are operated by local non-profits, universities and law schools. They receive some funding from the IRS and are supervised by the National Taxpayer Advocate, and the program is designed to help people and families with income that does not exceed 250% of federal poverty guidelines. There's a directory of Tax Clinics on the IRS.gov Web site.

Taxpayer Assistance Centers at local IRS offices also provide free assistance in setting up payment plans, understanding letters from the IRS, and resolving tax problems.

The Taxpayer Advocate Service can help you resolve tax problems if you've been unable to resolve your problems by dealing directly with the IRS. The Taxpayer Advocate is an independent organization from the IRS and reports directly to Congress. I've personally found the Taxpayer Advocate Service to be very helpful in resolving problems. You can call them toll-free at 1-877-777-4778.

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