Don't look now, but tax filing season is just three months away. The Internal Revenue Service is working on getting ready, both staff and system wide, for the influx of 2022 tax returns in 2023.
The agency also is counting on its usual cadre of volunteers to help filers meet their tax obligations. To do that, the IRS has awarded $41 million in grants to 348 groups that support Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs.
Nationwide help sites: VITA and TCE sites are nationwide, and offer tax preparation and filing help to underserved communities and the elderly. For 2023, the IRS grants went to 309 organizations affiliated with VITA, and 39 grantees to offer TCE help.
You can check out the IRS grant list to see which groups got this latest round of IRS financial support and which are in your area. These local IRS partners administer the tax sites. They range from non-profit agencies, faith-based organizations, community centers, and large employers.
And while 348 total VITA and TCE grantees is a substantial number, and an increase from the 334 grants awarded last year, there actually will be more tax help sites than the grant number. Veteran VITA and TCE volunteers note that the organizations that get IRS grants support multiple volunteer filing assistance locations throughout their areas.
Volunteer tax help history: The TCE program, established in 1978, provides free tax counseling and federal return preparation to individuals who are age 60 or older. The TCE sites are found at community locations across the nation.
The VITA program, created in 1969, assists underserved communities, such as low- and moderate-income individuals. Last year, that covered those who generally earned $58,000 or less. Many VITA sites also help taxpayers who have limited English speaking skills.
Both TCE and VITA services are found in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Help at the sites typically is available during the normal federal income tax return filing period, which is from January 1 to April 15.
And while the workers at the nationwide sites are volunteers, they are trained to do their tax jobs. The IRS provides tax law training, certification, and oversight to the organizations that get grants, helping in their efforts to prepare accurate returns for their community members.
Specifics of sites, services not yet set: Most filers visit VITA or TCE locations for in-person help with their taxes. The sites usually are at easily accessible locations, such as community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, and shopping malls.
However, based on experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, many sites will continue to offer some online assistance.
The just-released list of VITA and TCE grant awardees shows the locations of the sponsoring groups. However, the exact location of the tax prep and filing services won't be set until next year.
When the 2023 tax filing season does begin next January, you can locate the nearest VITA site by using the IRS's online locator tool. TCE sites, which are operated by the AARP Foundation's Tax Aide program, can be found using the AARP Site Locator Tool.
You also might find these items of interest:
- IRS seeking VITA and TCE volunteers for 2023 tax season
- Special clinics help low-income taxpayers resolve other IRS issues
- VITA & TCE volunteers are back, helping taxpayers prepare & file returns for free (2022 filing season)