Did you know that you may qualify for no-cost tax assistance through the Internal Revenue Service’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance programs? Known as VITA, the federal Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program allows you to visit a local tax assistance center to receive free tax assistance. IRS tax volunteers receive certified tax assistance training to help you file your annual federal income taxes. Offered during certain times of the tax season, you may be able to visit a VITA tax clinic and receive limited income tax assistance. Generally, tax help is available to elderly, disabled and low-income taxpayers with limited annual incomes. You may have to bring identification or certification of an existing disability.
You may also be able to qualify for the federal Tax Counseling for the Elderly program offered by certified IRS tax volunteers. The AARP also trains volunteers through the IRS tax certification programs to provide their elderly colleagues with specialized tax assistance. Typically, free tax assistance is available to elderly taxpayers who are at least 60 years old and disabled. You may have to show your qualify free tax assistance by providing proof of disability.
The VITA tax clinics offer limited assistance but are a great resource to help you understand which forms you must fill out. Did you know that if you receive Social Security disability benefits, you may not have to file your tax returns? However, you may want to file your tax returns to qualify for special tax credits or deductions. According to the IRS, if you qualify as a permissible tax filer, you are not required to file your annual income tax returns, but you may voluntarily file your returns to qualify for overlooked deductions or to take advantage of federal low-income tax credits.
Because many of these public interest programs are only available to low-income and elderly taxpayers, it is important to prove asset eligibility. Certain assets are exempt from income, including Medicaid assets. An attorney can help you understand the importance of calculating excluded income for tax purposes and for general public welfare program participation purposes. Understanding which assets are includable as income for Medicaid eligibility requires a thorough understanding of federal laws.