IRS assists the elderly for tax counseling in the US.
The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) had very recently awarded more than $36 million for the Elderly and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Grants for those organizations which help in providing senior citizens of the country with federal tax return preparation. Usually, taxes are difficult for everyone; tax returns, tax credit, property tax, social security tax, etc. make the entire concept of taxes even more confusing. With increasing age, the process of tax preparation and tax return seems to be even more difficult.
The complex tax rules, changing technology and the lack of proper funds for hiring a professional tax preparer can make the tax preparation and file even much more difficult. So, if you are ageing and finding it difficult to prepare your federal taxes yourself then you can approach the IRS for assistance.
The IRS offers two great tax preparation programs which the seniors in the country can use:-
- Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program
- Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Program
Throughout the US, VITA and TCE support centers and programs are located which would be helpful for the seniors. When you visit the IRS website, you would be able to search based on your location that would help you in finding the nearest VITA or TCE program. The IRS would partner with several organizations throughout the US for developing the VITA and TCE programs. These community partners can include faith-based organizations, community centers, non-profit agencies, large employers, etc. Proper training on tax laws and certifications are provided by the IRS to these community partners for enabling them to prepare correct tax returns.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program.
The volunteers at VITA are the IRS certified professionals who help old people or disabled people in their tax preparation. The VITA program by the IRS is most suitable for those seniors who have a particular income which can be subject to income tax. Moreover, the VITA Program is also helpful for those seniors who do not have very fluent English skills, earn a higher income, and need professional assistance for tax preparation. The VITA Program was created in the year 1969 and would help the under-deserved communities like low –income and moderate-income individuals in tax preparation.
The tax professionals at VITA work very hard and help in providing good quality services for the seniors who have low income and would need professional help for the preparation of their tax returns. VITA volunteers would also help in providing counseling on the tax credits that are applicable for reducing the income tax burden. But, there are certain limits on what the VITA volunteers can prepare and cannot prepare. The IRS would suggest that difficult federal tax situations must be handled by paid tax professionals.
Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Program.
Those senior citizens who are not very sure about which tax assistance program they must use can use the TCE Program. The TCE Program was started in 1978 and its volunteers receive proper tax training and technical assistance. According to the laws in 2017, a senior citizen must be 60 years old to qualify for using the TCE Program for tax assistance. Many seniors in the US have a living which is based on a fixed income and they should use the TCE Program rather than the VITA Program.
TCE Program is operated by the IRS certified tax professionals and provides free services to the senior citizens. TCE volunteers make it more convenient for senior citizens by traveling to locations where the seniors can meet them easily such as libraries or community centers, etc. Several non-profit organizations would administer the TCE Program that functions on the grants given by the IRS.
So, senior citizens can avail themselves of professional tax aid programs and also be aware of the tax scams that are a common occurrence these days.