Be aware of what VITA and TCE volunteers can and can’t do
These services help you with simple tax returns. Publication 3676-B, IRS Certified Volunteers Providing Free Tax Preparation, can help you determine what types of returns that VITA and TCE can and can’t help prepare.
Gather your paperwork and information
If you’re married and filing a joint tax return, both spouses must be present during the tax return preparation. Before visiting a VITA or TCE site, you should gather certain documents, including:
- Government issued photo identification for yourself and your spouse (if married);
- Social Security cards or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number documents for you, your spouse, and/or dependents;
- Birth dates for everyone who’ll be listed on your tax return;
- Wage and income statements – commonly called IRS Form W-2 and IRS Form 1099;
- Information for other income even if you did not receive an IRS Form W2 or IRS Form 1099;
- A copy of last year’s federal income tax return;
- Letter 6419 (English/Spanish) – Advance Child Tax Credit Payments;
- Forms 1095-A, B or C (Affordable Care Act Statements);
- Notice 1444-C, Your 2021 Economic Impact Payment;
- For direct deposit of refund, proof of account and bank’s routing number; and
- Information to claim deductions, such as:
- Daycare provider information – name, tax identification number, total amount paid;
- Charitable contributions;
- Health care information – IRS Form 1095-A, B, or C, and out-of-pocket expenses,
- Home mortgage interest paid, and
- Real estate taxes paid
Publication 3676-B also lists what you should bring with you to the VITA or TCE site.
At many VITA sites, people who earn $64,000 or less may be able to prepare their own tax returns. They can do this using free web-based software. This option is for those who do not have a home computer or do not need much help. This option is only available at locations that list “Self-Prep” in the online site listing.
Find your local site
You can find the closest VITA or TCE site online at Get Free Tax Prep Help or by calling 800-906-9887. The site indicates whether each location requires an appointment for service.
During your appointment
Bring all your tax documents and be prepared to answer questions — they’re necessary for the volunteer to prepare a correct tax return. After the volunteer has finished your tax return, you’ll be told the amount of your expected tax refund or the amount you owe. If you wish, the volunteer will electronically file your tax return. The volunteer must give you a copy of your return.