This year, the deadline to file tax returns is April 17–just a little over a month away.
But though we get a tiny bit longer to make important filing considerations, for many Americans, Tax Day is no walk in the park.
People of all ages find tax preparation tricky, but seniors–especially the newly retired–may find it particularly daunting. Not only is there more to consider regarding different kinds of taxable retirement income and deductions, but the cost of professional help is steep for those on fixed incomes.
Thankfully there are several no-cost resources to help seniors file their returns confidently.
The Tax Counseling for the Elderly program (TCE), a collaborative effort between the Internal Revenue Service and several nonprofit groups, offers Americans age 60 and over free tax preparation assistance. The program is offered at TCE sites nationwide and operated by IRS-certified volunteers trained to give seniors tax advice, especially regarding pensions and retirement accounts.
Most TCE sites are operated by the AARP Foundation under their Tax-Aide program. Visit the Tax Aide website right here to locate the nearest TCE location.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) is another service offered to taxpayers through the IRS and run by certified volunteers. Though VITA is available to Americans of all ages, it provides those making $54,000 or less per year with free tax preparation services.
Visit the IRS’ Free Tax Return Preparation for Qualifying Taxpayers page to learn more about VITA, TCE, and where these services are available.
The AARP Foundation’s Tax-Aide program provides free tax preparation to low-to-moderate income Americans age 50 and over. With nearly 5,000 locations serving seniors across the nation, it is the largest tax assistance program available to seniors.
While one need not be a member of AARP to take advantage of Tax-Aide services, it is required that seniors bring a series of important documents to help volunteers prepare a return. AARP lists the necessary documents right here.
It may also be wise for seniors to check their comptroller or state’s official website for taxpayer services regarding returns. Some states may offer free tax assistance and free filing directly to senior residents (Maryland residents, for example, may reach out to Maryland taxpayer services offices for assistance and free electronic filing of their completed returns).