12 Places to Find Free Tax Advice

Preparing taxes on your own can be complicated, especially with ever-changing tax laws.

Getting help from an expert can make it easier to file your return on time and ensure you’re maximizing your tax benefits.

Bonus: You don’t always need to pay for tax help. Several federal programs, local resources and nonprofit organizations provide free tax help from trained staff or volunteers.

Here are 12 resources for free tax help:

1. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program

The IRS manages the VITA program, which is staffed by volunteers who are trained to provide basic tax preparation help. The program has been providing its services for more than 50 years.

The program is generally available to people who earn $60,000 and have a disability or limited English-speaking skills.

VITA sites are located at community centers, libraries, schools, colleges and local nonprofit organizations. To find a program near you, visit the IRS Get Free Tax Help page.

2. Tax Counseling for the Elderly Program

The TCE, which is also managed by the IRS and staffed by volunteers, provides free tax help primarily for taxpayers who are 60 and older. Volunteers are trained to help with questions about pensions, Social Security, disability and other government programs for older taxpayers. TCEs are also offered at community centers, schools and senior centers. To find TCE programs in your area, visit the IRS Get Free Tax Help page.

[Read: How to File Taxes for Free.]

3. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Program

The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program has been helping taxpayers for more than 50 years by offering free tax preparation help to anyone, but its focus is to assist people who are 50 or older and have low to moderate incomes.

You can meet with IRS-certified volunteers in person or virtually — or, you can drop off your tax documents and work with a volunteer to finalize your return.

The Tax-Aide program also has coaches to help you prepare your own return. You can find AARP Foundation Tax-Aide locations and more information by visiting the Tax-Aide Locator and AARP Foundation Tax-Aide site.

[Read: A Guide to Educational Tax Credits and Deductions.]

4. IRS Website

The IRS website is filled with information about tax filing, credits, deductions, tax forms and instructions. It also features a tool you can use to check on your refund and get other information to help you file your return. The Interactive Tax Assistant makes it easy to search for resources on the website.

5. Internal Revenue Service Helpline

You can also call the IRS helpline at 800-829-1040 with your tax questions. The IRS used some money it received from the Inflation Reduction Act to hire 5,000 new customer service representatives to help answer phones and provide other services this year, so wait times should be shorter. Visit the IRS Let Us Help You page for more information regarding contacting the IRS and other resources.

6. IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers

If you can’t get the IRS to answer certain questions online or over the phone, consider going to an IRS taxpayer assistance center.

You can set up an appointment at a local IRS office to get help with tax questions and issues. Use the Taxpayer Assistance Center Office Locator to find the nearest office and check out its available services.

7. Your State Tax Office

Your state department of revenue or taxation can help with questions about state taxes. Most of these websites have forms and instructions, information guides, contact information for taxpayer services and other resources. See the Federation of Tax Administrators’ state tax agencies guide for links.

[READ: Income Tax Burdens by State]

8. Taxpayer Advocate Service

If you have a tax issue you can’t resolve with the IRS, you may want to contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent organization within the IRS created to help protect taxpayers’ rights.

The TAS primarily helps people with IRS system issues, financial hardship, and fair and equitable treatment concerns. See the TAS qualifier tool to find out if the organization can help with your tax issue. The TAS has offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The TAS website is also filled with helpful resources, such as a tool to look up information about notices you may receive from the IRS, details about your rights and clear explanations regarding tax credits, changes, issues and errors.

9. Low Income Taxpayer Clinics

Low Income Tax Clinics help taxpayers below certain income thresholds resolve disputes with the IRS.

LITCs can represent taxpayers in audits, appeals and tax collection disputes for free or a small fee. Staff members can also answer questions about responding to IRS notices and help those who speak English as a second language understand their taxpayer rights.

See the Low Income Taxpayer Clinics page for more information and eligibility.

10. MilTax Program

Military families have some special tax issues that are different from civilians’, such as a tax-free housing allowance, tax-free income in a combat zone, higher Thrift Savings Plan contribution limits when deployed and special rules about state income taxes while on active duty. It can help to work with a program or expert who specializes in military tax rules.

The MilTax program is a free tax-filing and support service from the U.S. Department of Defense available to service members and qualifying veterans and family members. The program offers tax preparation help and e-filing software during tax season, and MilTax consultants are available year-round to answer tax questions.

[READ: Is It Better to File Taxes Jointly or Separately?]

11. IRS Free File and Other Online Programs

You may be able to file your taxes for free through IRS Free File, a program in which several online tax prep companies partner with the IRS to offer their services for free. These programs guide you through the process and do the math for you, making it easy to file your return online.

Some online tax services also offer free programs that aren’t based on income — if you have a simple return.

12. Your Local Library or Community Center

As tax season gets into full swing, look for local resources for help preparing your returns. Libraries, community centers and senior centers often hold tax preparation workshops or seminars, and volunteers may be available to help prepare taxes or answer questions.

More from U.S. News

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How to Avoid IRS Tax Refund Delays in 2023

12 Places to Find Free Tax Advice
originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 02/16/23: This story was previously published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

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