You might be surprised to find out that there is a government program in place specifically created to assist seniors with tax preparation. Partnered with AARP, the Tax-Aide Program provides free tax help to seniors who are in the low and middle-income brackets and has assisted nearly 50 million taxpayers with their tax preparation and returns.
AARP Tax-Aide Program
The AARP Tax-Aide Program is the nation's largest free, volunteer-run tax assistance and preparation service. Formed in 1968, the program has assisted nearly 50 million taxpayers with their tax preparation and returns. Tax-Aide assists with tax services, credits and deductions to ensure that low-income seniors retain the most income for their essential purchases like housing and meals. With a focus on those 60 years old and older, Tax-Aide is available for free to those with low and moderate income. they offer locations throughout the US to assist in your tax preparation locally. So what can they help you with? The volunteers can help you file all the various types of Form 1040, as well as schedule A, B and D. If you are a low- or moderate-income taxpayer, especially aged 60 or older, make sure you try check into the AARP Tax-Aide program for your tax preparation needs before paying elsewhere.
In order to receive assistance from the Tax-Aide program, you will need to have the following documents available:
- Government Issued I.D.
- Last Year's Return
- Social Security Card
- Checkbook or Pre-printed Direct Deposit Information
- Your W-2's, Unemployment statements and/or 1099 Forms
- Your Deductions
- Your Credits
Affordable Care Act (ACA)
You will need to have documentation to show you are in compliance with the ACA which includes one of the following:
- Documentation proving your health coverage
- Information indicating you were covered for at least 9 months
- If you purchased insurance through the Marketplace, you need a Form 1095-A
- Documentation of a Health Care Exemption from the Marketplace or IRS
In addition to AARP Tax-Aide, these programs are also available to help you with free tax preparation:
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program offers free tax assistance to citizens making $53,000 or less, the elderly and persons with disabilities. Their offices are typically located locally at community centers, libraries and schools to make them more convenient for you. They have IRS-certified volunteers that provide free basic tax return help with your electronic filing. You can find out more about VITA here.
Tax Counseling For The Elderly (TCE)
Another program develpoed to help those 60 years of age or older is Tax Counseling For The Elderly. The TCE specializes in situations regarding pensions and retirement that are unique to the elderly. It is staffed by IRS-certified volunteers that are often retired themselves. Their offices are typically located locally at community centers, libraries and schools to make them more convenient for you. You can find out more about TCE here.
Before going to VITA or TCE, you will need to have the required documents and information they need to help you. Please check the list of What To Bring before contacting them.