Income taxes help pay for community services, and the federal government provides grants to assist taxpayers with filings. The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) offers free tax preparation to people of all ages but prioritizes those 60 years of age and older.
TCE volunteers also go through tax preparation training. TCE volunteers have experience with senior-related tax issues, such as pensions and retirement accounts. Organizations – not the government – operate TCE sites. While charities run some of the TCE locations, many are under the administration of elderly-specific organizations, such as the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).
AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program offers free in-person and virtual help for low- to moderate-income seniors. Trained volunteers help taxpayers 50 years of age and older.
Online assistance is available year-round, but in-person tax help is only open during tax season. AARP help with taxes starts in February and runs until mid-April.
Military members and families can get free tax help through MilTax, software from H&R Block and in-person services. MilTax software walks taxpayers through the tax filing by asking questions. Answers help the program determine the best tax deductions and credits available.
Some of the people who qualify for free tax help from MilTax include:
· Air Force members.
· Army members.
· Navy members.
· Marines and National Guard members.
· Coast Guard members serving under Title 10 authority.
· Retired and honorably discharged members are authorized for up to 180 days past their separation.
· Spouses, dependent children, and survivors.
Tax preparation and electronic filing services from MilTax are accessible from mid-January through mid-October. Military personnel can find in-person assistance on military installations or at VITA sites. Tax help is also available by phone.
Some of the services MilTax volunteers help with include:
· Reporting deployment and combat wages.
· Tax forgiveness and refunds for surviving members.
· Economic Impact Payments.
· Tax credits.
· Military OneSource Accounts.
· Military tax tips.
· Multistate filings and relocations.
· Filing extensions.
· Tax-related issues unique to military households.
MilTax is the only tax software approved by the Department of Defense. But it is not the only trusted filing option available to military members and civilians.
Companies have free tax filing software for taxpayers with simple filings. A simple tax filing, for example, would not have itemization or multiple employers or sources of income. Tax software providers may offer a free filing and give you the option to buy an assistance package to look for deductions.
Free or paid tax software can make filing easier and more accurate, like calculating amounts. Completing taxes by paper can increase the likelihood of human error, miscalculations, and missed deductions.
Learn where to find free tax software from reputable companies and how to avoid scams next.