In Elder Law News

Senior African American man at desk sorting through finances, filing taxes.About 19 million individuals requested an extension – until October 17, 2022 – for filing their 2021 taxes with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). If you’re among them, there is no need to hold off until mid-October to file. Filing sooner rather than later can help you avoid delays in processing your return.

Need assistance? There are several resources available to many individuals, including seniors, at no charge:

Options for Free Tax Preparation

  • Volunteer Income Tax Association (VITA) Program — The IRS offers free assistance preparing tax returns to millions of people each year through its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

    In place for more than half a century, VITA is designed to help seniors, people living with disabilities, individuals with low to moderate income (less than $58,000 a year), and taxpayers who speak limited English.

    Find a VITA location near you, and keep in mind what you should bring with you if visiting one of these locations in person.

  • Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Program – Also offered through the IRS via specially trained volunteers, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program caters to seniors aged 60 and older. The program gives seniors free help with preparing tax returns.

    Search online for a TCE program site in your area.

  • Free File Program — If your adjusted gross income is $73,000 or less, consider looking into the IRS’ Free File program, which has been around since 2003. Free File providers allow you to use tax prep software for free and do not charge you for online preparation or e-filing of your federal income tax return.

    Even if your income is above the $73,000 threshold, you can still access Free File’s electronic IRS forms at no cost that you can file yourself.

    Learn more about Free File provider services on the IRS website.

Many taxpayers will typically pay a professional several hundred dollars to prepare and file their taxes each year. In the future, this system could change. With the recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, $15 million has been earmarked for research focused on establishing a nationwide tax-filing service that would be free for American taxpayers.

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