TurboTax is a great resource if your taxes are fairly simple, but if you’re dealing with Social Security, divorce, death, dependents, adoption, healthcare, inheritance, and the like, VITA is a great resource.
Getting Free Tax Preparation at VITA
“The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $53,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.” Only individuals who were married filing jointly were allowed the $53k cap limit. Every once in a while if the site isn’t busy is when the site managers allows the volunteers to prepare something over the $25k limit like if the individual has dependents.
What is IRS VITA Program?
To find a VITA site near you, visit the IRS website here. The people who prepare these are mostly students or volunteers who don’t get paid, they aren’t allowed to accept anything from you either, so please don’t try to give them anything. It’s a great way to get your taxes done for free, but then again, you get what you pay for. It might make sense to do this, and they take HR Block up on their free review to see if they can catch any errors
To people who are worried about students doing their taxes, there are other experienced volunteers who are there to help when students have any questions. Plus each return needs to be reviewed by another person before they’re finished. In my experience last year there were very few mistakes, and the ones that were made were caught in the review.
Who are VITA Tax Volunteers?
As a VITA volunteer you must go through training provided by the IRS which is all done online. There are different “levels” of training a volunteer can complete. The minimum is “Basic” and the next level is “Advance” along with “Military” and other areas. I would advise anyone that uses this service to ask for an “Advance” level or higher volunteer. At my VITA location I was the only volunteer that completed all levels as everyone else simply completed the basic. They were far less knowledgeable about more complex tax returns.