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5 Great Ways to Get Free Tax Assistance

Roughly 170 million Americans are expected to file their taxes this year, spanning just about every level of wealth and every walk of life. And while a hefty chunk of those people likely could use a helping hand, many don’t have the means to pay for professional tax assistance.

Fortunately, thanks to a number of programs across the country, money isn’t an issue.

Free tax assistance is available every year to tens of millions of Americans: low-income taxpayers, the elderly, the disabled, military members and many more. All they need is their forms, proof of eligibility and to know where to look for aid.

The following are five of the most widely used sources of free tax assistance:

5 Ways to Get Free Tax Assistance

IRS Free File

The IRS Free File service is actually a pair of services: Free electronic federal tax forms for any taxpayer regardless of income, and guided tax preparation for those with adjusted gross income (AGI) of $73,000 or less.

The Free File fillable forms are available at IRS.gov. You fill out the forms and file them yourself — no guidance, and limited calculation capabilities. Still, if you can prepare a paper tax return yourself, you can file your federal return for free using these forms.

The guided tax preparation is provided as a public-private partnership between the IRS and a group of tax preparation software companies. If you go to IRS.gov, you can browse a list of all companies that provide the Free File option. These companies will help you both prepare and file your federal taxes for free; some will provide free state tax preparation as well, though others might charge a fee.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

For more than five decades, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program has helped Americans access free tax assistance through numerous partners.

The program typically serves:

  • Low- to moderate-income individuals (those who make $58,000) or less
  • The disabled
  • The elderly
  • Limited English speakers

The IRS does not provide the free tax assistance itself. Instead, organizations provide free tax-prep services, and the IRS in turn awards grants to these organizations. These grants are used to expand services, enhance volunteer training and pay for necessary costs such as office supplies and technology.

Taxpayers can check to see whether they’re eligible for VITA at Benefits.gov, and look for a nearby VITA site at Treasury.gov.

Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE)

In the same vein, the IRS also sponsors the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program, which uses third parties to provide free tax assistance for individuals age 60 or older.

While the program’s primary intent is to provide the elderly with free filing services during tax season, the program operates year round.

Like with VITA, the IRS provides funds to organizations, which then use the money to reimburse volunteers for expenses incurred while providing tax counseling assistance.

Taxpayers can find a nearby TCE site at Treasury.gov.


Military OneSource and the Department of Defense offer up MilTax between mid-January and mid-October of each year. The free service is available to active-duty Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and certain Coast Guard members; National Guard; reserves; and their families. Retired military members are also allowed to use MilTax within one year of exiting the service.

The core of MilTax is the MilTax preparation and e-filing software, which addresses situations such as deployment, combat and training pay, multistate filings and living OCONUS, among others. The software will guide you through your filing and allow you to e-file one federal return and up to three state tax forms.

Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITC)

Free tax assistance isn’t limited to just return prep and filing. Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) exist to help people get through tax disputes with the IRS.

The LITC program is available to Americans who either have low income or speak English as a Second Language (ESL). These clinics provide pro bono legal representation in tax disputes (typically concerning amounts of less than $50,000) and educate people about their rights. They also advocate for issues that impact low-income and ESL taxpayers.

McManamon & Co: Making Tax Time Easier

McManamon & Co. doesn’t provide personal tax filing services — but if you have a small- or midsize business, we can help you out.

Our full-service firm provides a commonsense approach to accounting, tax and business consulting services. And when tax time rolls around, we can do so much more than filing. Our tax services include minimizing your liabilities this year, and helping you maximizing the tax code with a comprehensive plan for the future.

McManamon & Co. is here for your small business tax, accounting and consulting needs. Call us at 440.892.8900 or contact us online today.

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