Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

What is Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) ?

Qualified individuals can receive free basic tax return preparation through the IRS's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. Over 50 years have passed since the VITA program began. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance is funded by the IRS but run by local organizations.

The VITA program is an IRS initiative designed to support free tax preparation service for the underserved through various partner organizations. Each year, this program aids those with low to moderate incomes, those with disabilities, the elderly, and those who speak limited English in filing their taxes.  Volunteers learn to prepare taxes and make a difference in the community at the same time.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provides free tax preparation assistance to taxpayers who typically earn $58,000 or less, those with disabilities, the elderly, and those who speak limited English.

Volunteers with IRS certification prepare basic income tax returns for free and file them electronically for eligible taxpayers. IRS Publication 3676-B gives a helpful list of the things and documents you need to bring for your session in addition to a summary of the services offered by VITA. You can utilize a Locator Tool sponsored by the IRS to identify VITA programs in your area. Either the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide site locator tool or the IRS VITA locator tool can be used to locate VITA program sites.

Key Facts IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program

  • U.S. taxpayers can receive free income tax assistance through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.
  • Volunteers can get free help with tax problems, tax preparation, and e-filing through the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA).
  • For those who qualify, especially seniors, the IRS VITA program provides free basic tax return preparation.
  • A disability, limited English proficiency, and an annual income of $58,000 or less are all required prerequisites.
  • VITA offers community locations in malls, schools, and libraries and is partially sponsored by funds from the IRS.
  • The majority are accessible from February to April, however some are open until the deadline for submitting extensions in October.
  • Throughout all of the site's operating hours, volunteers can provide assistance. Volunteers are required to pass an IRS tax literacy exam.

How Does the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Work?

Throughout the Inland Empire, during tax season, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program offers free income tax preparation to low-income individuals and families. Additionally, services are offered for the disabled, low-income seniors, and non-English speakers.

The VITA facilities are run by IRS partners and staffed by volunteers who wish to make a difference in their communities. The IRS supervises the VITA programs. The IRS-certified volunteers who offer tax advice are frequently retired people connected to charitable organisations that get funding from the IRS.

In addition to being free, VITA programs are a trustworthy and dependable source for tax return preparation. Tax law training that satisfies or exceeds IRS criteria must be taken and passed by all VITA volunteers who prepare returns. Maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of all taxpayer information is part of this training. The IRS mandates a quality review check for every return prepared at a VITA site prior to filing, in addition to asking volunteers to certify their familiarity with the tax laws. Millions of federal and state returns are prepared by tens of thousands of committed VITA volunteers each filing season. Additionally, they help prepare thousands of returns for Facilitated Self-Assistance on behalf of taxpayers.

How to Become a VITA ?

These assistance groups that provide free tax preparation services during the tax filing season at sites in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are given matching money by the IRS. IRS partner organizations are now able to:
  • Expand VITA services around the nation for the underserved.
  • Increase the quantity of electronically filed returns.
  • Improving volunteer training.
  • Increase the precision of returns generated at volunteer stations.
  • The following are some ways that VITA Grant partners use grant money to expand their VITA programs :
  1. Hiring devoted staff members who are focused on establishing relationships with community partners, attracting volunteers, and keeping volunteers.
  2. Creating and printing flyers, postcards, and posters that may be customized with information about tax preparation services and the VITA volunteer opportunity.
  3. VITA site administration, including regular running expenses like buying laptops and office equipment.

If you are a partner organisation interested in applying for a VITA grant or if you are a current grant recipient looking for more advice and information, kindly follow the links.

Who is Eligible for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance ?

For those who want assistance in preparing their own tax returns, VITA sites provide free tax help, including:
  • Persons with disabilities.
  • People who generally make $58,000 or less.
  • Limited English-speaking taxpayers.

What to Carry to Your Local VITA Site ?

  • Identification documentation (photo ID).
  • You, your spouse, and any dependents should all have social security cards.
  • If you do not have a Social Security number, an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) assignment letter may be used instead for you, your spouse, and your dependents.
  • If requesting an ITIN, provide evidence of your foreign status.
  • Dates of birth for you, your spouse, and any dependents shown on your tax return.
  • Wage and earnings statements from all employers (Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, and 1099-Misc).
  • Bank interest and dividend statements (Forms 1099).
  • If obtained, the Health Insurance Exemption Certificate.
  • A copy of the federal and state returns from the previous year, if available
  • For direct deposit, evidence of bank account routing and account numbers, such as a blank check, is required.
  • Both spouses must be present to sign the necessary paperwork in order to electronically submit taxes on a joint tax return for a married couple.
  • Amount paid in full and the daycare provider's tax identification number, such as their Social Security number or their business Employer Identification Number.
  • Statements of Health Coverage, Forms 1095-A, B, and C.
  • Copies of tax returns from the IRS and the state, if necessary.

Note :
Depending on the number of volunteers at each location who are qualified in the area of tax law needed for your return, different services may be offered. Along with their VITA program, several VITA facilities also provide CAA services to taxpayers.

How to Apply for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance ?

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) will help you prepare your tax return, and most locations will e-file your tax return for you as well. 

To use the VITA service, no application is required. Visit the Free Tax Return Preparation for Qualifying Taxpayers page or call 1-800-906-9887 for details on volunteering or the locations of the tax assistance sites.

Please use the VITA locator to find a open VITA site near you. For more information go to www.irs.gov and check their list of VITA sites.

Find a VITA Site Near You

Across the country, VITA sites are typically found in community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, malls, and other convenient locations. You can either use the VITA Locator Tool or dial 800-906-9887 to find the closest VITA site to you.

Use the AARP Site Locator Tool or dial 888-227-7669 between January and April to find the closest AARP Tax-Aide site.

Taxpayers have the option of preparing their own basic federal and state tax returns using web-based tax preparation software for free at a few tax sites with the assistance of an IRS-certified volunteer. Only places with "Self-Prep" listed in the site listing have this option.

Note :
From February to April, updates to the locator are made often.

Contact VITA

Visit the Free Tax Return Preparation for Qualifying Taxpayers page or call 1-800-906-9887 or send an email to partner@irs.gov for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) mean IRS?
A project of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) called VITA grant program aims to support free tax preparation services for the underprivileged through a number of partner groups.

What will Volunteer Income Tax Assistance do?
The VITA program provides free tax preparation assistance to taxpayers who typically earn $58,000 or less, those with disabilities, the elderly, and those who speak little English.

Why is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program important?
VITA is an IRS-sponsored initiative staffed by volunteers who are dedicated to assisting millions of taxpayers with low and moderate incomes by offering precise, cost-effective, and reliable tax preparation assistance.

How much does VITA cost?
Those who qualify for VITA tax assistance are not charged any fees.

How much time will it take to complete my return?
The preparation of tax returns will be done in the order that they are received. At the time of input, a projected completion date for the return can be provided. This is only an estimate; the actual time needed to finish the tax return may differ depending on a number of variables.

Is the information I provide secure?
For all papers pertaining to taxpayers, we have created a mechanism for secure transfer and momentary storage. You will receive your original documents back after they have been scanned. No original paperwork will be left with us by you. All digital copies of the documents will be permanently erased from our system once your tax return has been prepared and submitted to the taxation authorities.

What kinds of returns are prepared through VITA ?

Most returns, including those from investments and/or self-employment, can be handled through VITA. However, according to IRS standards, some returns are regarded as out-of-scope. Taxpayers with out-of-scope returns might still be able to use free software for doing it themselves.

The following returns cannot be prepared using VITA:
  • Income/loss from rental property
  • Farm income/loss
  • Active military pay
  • Moving expenses
  • Bankruptcy
  • Household employees
  • Credit from forms 4136, 2439, 8839 (adoption credit), 8801, 8885
  • Affordable Care Act: Parts IV (Shared Policy Allocation) and V (Alternative Calculation for Year of Marriage) of Form 8962
The following categories of business returns :
  • Business expenses in excess of $25,000
  • Employee taxes
  • Business showing a net loss
  • Business use of home expenses
  • Depreciation or amortization
  • Business using accrual-based accounting
  • Inventory at year-end
  • Prior year disallowed passive activity loss