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Tax Tips: Free Tax Return Preparation Is Available

If your household income is $54,000 or less, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. Trained, IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing.

In addition to VITA, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors. The IRS-certified volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS.

Furthermore, some VITA sites can prepare Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) applications for free.

VITA and TCE sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls and other convenient locations across Arkansas. To locate the nearest VITA or TCE site near you, call Legal Aid of Arkansas at 479-442-0600, use the VITA Locator Tool or call the IRS at 800-906-9887.

Most TCE sites are operated by the AARP Foundation’s Tax Aide program. To locate the nearest AARP TCE Tax-Aide site between January and April, call Legal Aid of Arkansas at 479-442-0600, use the AARP Site Locator Tool or call the IRS at 888-227-7669.

All sites will begin to prepare returns in mid- to late-January or early February. In December, Legal Aid of Arkansas will post a list of Arkansas VITA and TCE sites on its website and on Facebook. This list, complete with addresses, phone numbers, and schedules, will also be available at all Legal Aid's locations in January.

Key words: tax return, VITA, IRS, taxpayer

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