Senior Citizen Income Tax Preparation
Senior Citizen Income Tax Preparation – 7 Options to Consider
If all goes as planned, and we all know how that usually goes, the Internal Revenue Service should begin to accept 2021 tax returns around January 24, 2022. The current tax year isn’t over yet, so we don’t know what Congress will do as far as making changes to the tax code. We invite you to read on to see where senior citizen income tax preparation help is available.
There are several organizations where you can get free help such as AARP, The IRS, and a few volunteer associations. There are also a few online income tax preparation services, some free, if you qualify. There are some seniors who prefer to do taxes on your own at an online tax filing website.
The AARP Foundation Tax Aide program
AARP provides low income tax preparation primarily, for individuals who are 50 or older, and no membership is required. For the 2020 tax returns, they were providing in person and also virtual filing.
Their volunteer staff who provides AARP income tax preparation, are trained in tax preparation and must be certified by the IRS on an annual basis. Because of the Covid issue, tax assistance was available by appointment only. Check this link to get a listing of Tax Aide locations.
Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE)
Tax assistance is provided by a federal grant. This program volunteers prepare tax returns mainly for individuals over the age of 60, and are IRS certified. (Many of the TCE sites are actually operated by AARP through its Tax Aide program.) If you need more information, you can call 888-227-7669, or visit its website.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
Funding for VITA is provided by another federal grant program, and senior citizen income tax preparation is done by IRS certified volunteers. The individuals serviced usually have income below $56,000, or are disabled, and others with limited English language skills.
For more information, you can call 800-906-9887, or visit their website. You’ll be able to see if they have a site nearby.
IRS Free File
It’s estimated that about 70% of American taxpayers may be eligible to take advantage of the free income tax preparation. The IRS program is for single taxpayers and families that have income of $72,000 or less. Returns in this program are prepared by a group of software partners who have online tax filing websites. For more information, and a list of options, you can visit the Free File Software Offers page.
IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs)
You can get help at any IRS office that hosts a Taxpayer Assistance Center. Because of Covid, you have to have an appointment to come in to any of these offices. Services offered may vary from office to office, so it is advisable to contact the office that you plan to visit.
Miltax Filing Service
This program is funded by the Department of Defense (Military Onesource) and provides personal income tax preparation software. There are certain conditions that must be met to qualify:
- Active duty military personnel
- Dependent children
The software is specifically designed for military personnel and specific to their situation. The software is usually available from mid-January through mid-October, and is powered and administered by an industry leading provider of tax services. For more information, you can visit their website through this link.
DIY senior citizen income tax preparation
There are a number of vendors offering income tax preparation, some free and some not. It should be noted that most of the ones that offer free tax preparation, only mean the federal return. Preparing your state return is extra, and usually costs from $19.95 to $39.95.
If your personal return doesn’t qualify for the free version, you’re quickly upgraded to a much higher pricing tier. One site in particular, that we recommend, EZ Tax, has a flat rate fee of $25 that includes the federal return, state return, and e-filing. It doesn’t matter how complex your return is either, the same price applies. Their low flat rate of $25 for everything is lower than the amount charged for the state return in many of the free programs. Check out this program here and see why it’s right for senior citizen income tax preparation.