Programs

IRS Help | Programs available and support

As tax season gets underway and deadlines approach, many Americans are once again scrambling to file their taxes. Although filing taxes can be boring and confusing, the IRS offers a variety of tools and programs to help taxpayers file their taxes accurately and on time.

Read on to learn more about these programs and resources, which the IRS offers for free.

How to get free tax help from the IRS

The IRS provides free tax assistance through various in-person and online initiatives. For example, qualified taxpayers can prepare and file their returns for free using the IRS Free File program, while the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs allow certain taxpayers to receive assistance by nobody. with tax return preparation, free of charge.

IRS Free File

The IRS Free File program is a collaboration between the agency and private tax preparation and filing software companies such as ezTaxReturn and FreeTaxUSA.

While these companies normally charge for computer programs that allow you to file your taxes electronically, the IRS Free File program allows some people to access these services for free.

Taxpayers with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) below $73,000 can access guided tax preparation tools and learn how to file their taxes step-by-step, while those with an AGI above $73,000 can access fillable tax forms and complete them independently for free.

Check out our guide on how to file taxes for free to learn more about alternatives to the free files program.

Links and contact details:

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Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is one of two free IRS in-person basic tax preparation programs. VITA helps you:

  • People who typically earn $58,000 or less
  • People with Disabilities
  • Limited English-speaking taxpayers

The VITA program is overseen by the IRS but is run entirely by IRS-certified volunteers in physical locations across the country. VITA volunteers undergo training that meets or exceeds IRS requirements, making the program a great free resource for many people.

You can read publication 3676-B for a list of services offered at VITA sites, including assistance with state tax refunds, reporting unemployment benefits, and gambling winnings. You can also access to a checklist of required documents (government-issued ID, social security card or individual tax ID, etc.) that you should bring with you on your tour.

Links and contact details:

Tax advice for the elderly (TCE)

The Tax Counseling for Seniors (TCE) program is the second of two free in-person basic tax preparation programs from the IRS. It addresses all of the tax questions and issues that VITA deals with (including concerns about Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit), but focuses on people aged 60 and over.

The TCE program helps answer tax questions on topics such as pensions and other retirement-related issues like Social Security benefits, in addition to offering tax preparation assistance.

The majority of TCE locations are operated by the AARP Foundation’s Tax Assistance Program and are open from January through April.

Links and contact details:

Armed Forces Tax Council (AFTC)

According to the Department of Defense’s Office of Financial Readiness, “The Armed Forces Tax Council oversees the operation of VITA and military tax programs worldwide and acts as the primary channel for IRS outreach to service members and their families”.

While service members can travel to any civilian-accessible VITA location, the AFTC ensures they also have access to VITA program services at many U.S. military installations around the world.

Service members can find a VITA location using the VITA Site Locator Tool or by visiting the following link: https://www.militaryonesource.mil/vita-location-lookup/.

Interactive Tax Assistant (ITA)

The ITA is a tool that can answer many questions about the tax code specific to your personal situation. It does this by giving you a long list of topics for which you can then provide specific answers and narrow down an answer.

The list is divided into categories to make it easier to find a relevant topic. Categories include:

  • Filing requirement, form to use, due date
  • Filing status and dependents
  • Retirement: pensions, IRA, social security
  • Other income
  • Deductions
  • Credits
  • International
  • Additional topics

Where is my refund?

Where is my refund? tool allows you to check the status of your tax refund. By providing the IRS with basic information such as your Social Security number or ITIN, your filing status, and the exact amount of your refund, the agency can give you an update on the current status of your refund. .

The tool is accessible both via irs.gov and the IRS2GO mobile application. Expect to wait at least 24 hours after filing your tax return online or four weeks after mailing it in to see updates.

If there is a delay in processing your return, you should only contact the IRS if the message Where is my refund? the tool tells you of — or if it’s been 21 days since you e-filed your tax return. The agency will contact you by email if it needs more information.

IRS2GO app

The IRS offers a mobile app which allows you to track the status of your refund, make payments and more.

The IRS2GO app also helps you find free online tax preparation assistance. If you prefer to receive help in person, you can use the app to find a VITA or TCE location near you. IRS2GO is available in English and Spanish. The app is available for Android and iOS.

IRS.gov

Like many other government agencies, the IRS has its own website where you can find information on a wide range of tax topics and initiatives. For example, you can find out if you qualify for the child tax credit by using the Child Tax Credit Update Portal.

You can also learn more about the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which helps low-to-middle-income workers and families get tax relief. The website offers a brief questionnaire that you can complete to determine your eligibility.

In addition to the educational resources mentioned here, you can also use the IRS site to file your federal taxes or make corrections to tax forms you may have already submitted. Many of the support programs and options (ITA, Where’s My Refund?, etc.) described in the previous sections can also be found on the website.

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IRS Helpline

The IRS provides different phone numbers that you can call for help on a variety of tax-related topics. You can speak with a live representative 24/7, order tax forms for current and previous tax years, or listen to over 100 pre-recorded messages.

  • 24/7 support for federal tax matters: 1-800-829-1040
  • Tax forms and instructions for current and previous years: 1-800-829-3676
  • Teletax (pre-recorded messages on over 100 tax topics): 1-800-829-4477
  • Online publication: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-news/at-01-39.pdf

IRS Tax Help Money Guide Summary

Taxpayers who need free tax help can use the IRS’ many tools and resources (such as the Free File program and its interactive tax wizard) to get answers to tax questions on topics such as credit child tax, tax brackets, pensions and investment income. . The IRS also offers free options for in-person and online filing.

If you’re interested in guided tax preparation but have an AGI that limits your free file options, you can check out our guide to the best tax software to choose a program that suits your needs.

If you’re struggling with tax debt from previous tax years, you can read our guide to the best tax relief companies. These companies are staffed by tax professionals who can help you negotiate tax debt payment options with the IRS.