If you earn less than $42,000 a year you’re eligible for free help in preparing your tax return.

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service offers help to low-income tax payers under a program called the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program. The IRS program to help elderly tax payers, age 60 or older, is called Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE). VITA and TCE Services will be available at more than 12,000 sites nationwide.

To locate the nearest VITA site or for more information on TCE, call 1-800-829-1040.

If you want to take advantage of these free tax preparation services, be sure to bring the following information with you:

  • Photo identification
  • Valid Social Security cards for the taxpayer, spouse and dependents
  • Birth dates for primary, secondary and dependents on the tax return
  • Current year’s tax package, if received
  • Wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, from all employers
  • Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
  • A copy of last year’s federal and state returns, if available
  • Bank routing numbers and account numbers for direct deposit
  • Other relevant information about income and expenses
  • Total paid for day care
  • Day care provider’s identifying number

In addition to what support the IRS offers, some centers will provide language assistance for Americans with limited English skills.

And at nearly 8,000 locations AARP will also have counselors available. To locate the nearest AARP Tax-Aide site, call 1-888-227-7669 or visit AARP’s Internet site.

Military families can also expect support through the Armed Forces Tax Council (AFTC). The AFTC oversees the operation of the military tax programs worldwide, and serves as the main conduit for outreach by the IRS to military personnel and their families. Volunteers are trained and equipped to address military specific tax issues, such as combat zone tax benefits and the effect of the EITC guidelines.

March 9, 2009.