Communities all across the country have free tax preparation services for individuals and families. The largest is the IRS-sponsored Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which provides free tax preparation and resources for low and moderate income (generally $49,000 and below) people who cannot prepare their own tax returns. Certified volunteers receive training on basic tax return preparation as well as special tax credits such as the EITC and CTC. VITA sites are typically located at easily accessible places such as community centers, libraries, schools, and shopping malls. Most locations also offer free electronic filing. The IRS also sponsors tax service programs for people over 60 years of age and military personnel. This section provides information about the VITA program, research on the effectiveness of the services, and where to find free tax preparation services by geographic area. Also included is information about the predatory lending practice of Refund Anticipation Loans.
The National Community Tax Coalition is the largest membership organization for community-based organizations offering free tax and financial services to low-income working families in the U.S. The Coalition has over 2000 members and engages in federal and state advocacy, as well as provides training and resources. The site has links to resources as well as where to find free tax services by state and by member directory.