Get Free Tax Preparation Help for Seniors from the IRS

tax preparation help for seniors

Tax time is here again

Tax time is a pain for everyone, but even more so if you also need to help your older adult with their taxes, which could be complex.

Many seniors have pensions, pre-death life insurance benefits, IRA or 401K savings, or other financial assets. This can make preparing and filing taxes more complicated.

To make doing taxes less painful, you may want to consider getting expert help from an IRS-sponsored tax center at no charge.

We found two IRS-sponsored programs that offer no-cost tax help, show how to find a location near you, and recommend three important things to do before visiting one of these tax centers.



2 places to get free, expert tax preparation help for seniors

These two free programs are sponsored by the IRS. The IRS-certified volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS. They’re great places to get qualified tax help at no charge.

1. Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program
The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, especially those 60 years or older.

They specialize in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues that are common among seniors.

2. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $55,000 or less, persons with disabilities, and limited English speaking taxpayers.

For those that qualify, IRS-certified volunteers help with basic income tax return preparation and electronic filing.


Find a local TCE or VITA tax help center

Use this IRS locator tool to find a TCE or VITA tax help center near you.

After entering your zip code, you’ll see information about nearby locations and important details like what languages are offered and whether or not you’ll need to make an appointment.


3 things to do before visiting a TCE or VITA tax help center

1. Make sure the services you need are offered by TCE or VITA
Before considering getting help from TCE or VITA, check here to make sure the services you need are offered.

2. Call ahead to make sure volunteers are available to provide needed services at that location
Call ahead to make sure the local VITA or TCE center has available volunteers that can provide the specific services needed for your older adult’s tax situation.

Because each location depends on volunteer expertise, they can’t guarantee having every service at every location.

3. Bring all necessary documents
Review the information on the IRS’ What to Bring page to make sure you have all the required documents and information. The volunteers will need this in order to help your older adult with their taxes.


Next Step  Find an IRS-sponsored TCE or VITA free tax help center near you


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By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: R&M Tax Center


This article wasn’t sponsored and doesn’t contain affiliate links. For more information, see How We Make Money.


  • Reply February 1, 2019

    Sophia Irving

    I received Social security disability and for recreation visit casinos in Louisiana. Can I file my win/loss statements for 2017 and 2018 at any of these places?

    • Reply February 1, 2019


      We’re not tax professionals, so it would be best to contact a tax advisor to get an answer for your specific situation. The links above should help you find a tax professional who can help.

  • Reply January 28, 2019

    Debra Fontenot

    Why do seniors have to file tax returns when all they receive is Social Security, a little retirement check with a small savings account. When we do file we pay nothing and receive nothing.

    • Reply January 28, 2019


      The IRS states “Depending on your filing status and the amount of income you made during the year, you may not be required by law to file a return with the IRS. However, even if you do not have to file, it may still be in your best interest to submit a tax return.” Here are the guidelines from the IRS on how to determine whether or not to file a tax return —

  • Reply April 4, 2018

    Maurice B. Lampl II

    I went out yesterday to Holy Apostles Church (one of the listed sites for free tax preparation services) and found NO ONE there. So I went on to Senior Center on Hancock and was told that I had to have an appointment and they were all FULL UP. The receptionist there gave me forms and places to go and I gave up for the day. I am deaf 82 year old fart on Social Security and do NOT feel like I’m respected!!! Why is it so difficult to get free tax services? I’m gonna have to go online and pay $$$ (can’t afford it) for my tax preparation and I pay NO taxes nor do I get any refund….

    • Reply April 4, 2018


      I’m so sorry this happened. They do ask people to call first because availability and services at each location will depend on the availability of volunteers. Perhaps on another day you’ll have a chance to call some of the other places on the list that you received from the Senior Center and will be able to find free tax help from another organization.

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