Before you know it, winter would have come and gone and another tax season will be upon us. When it comes to tax preparation, seniors have special tax issues like social security income, pension checks, retirement benefits and spousal death that can complicate tax preparation or increase the chance of an incorrect return. But the good news is there are services available from the IRS and AARP that can make tax time less difficult.
The IRS has a program called “Tax Counseling for the Elderly” (TCE) and it is free. TCE provides tax help for those who are aged 60 and above. Trained volunteers from non-profit organizations (who are often retirees themselves) provide free tax counseling and basic income tax return preparation for senior citizens. These non-profit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code enter into an agreement with the IRS to provide training and technical assistance to elderly people to prepare their federal income tax returns. In return, these NGOs receive grants from the IRS which are used to reimburse volunteers for out-of-pocket expenses including transportation, meals, and other expenses they incur in providing tax counseling assistance at locations convenient to taxpayers.
As part of the IRS-sponsored TCE Program, AARP offers the Tax-Aide counseling program at more than 7,000 sites nationwide during the filing season. Trained and certified AARP Tax-Aide volunteer counselors help people of low-to-middle income with special attention to those aged 60 and older.
The AARP also has its own program for seniors called “Tax Aide”. In partnership with the IRS, the AARP receives federal grants to provide free tax counseling to seniors. The “Tax Aide” is a free service that provides tax help for low and moderate income senior citizens. In addition to helping seniors file tax returns, the AARP can also help with estate planning and can offer advice on reducing future tax liability. The AARP has chapters in every state and can help people over 50 years of age find free and reduced cost tax help.
For information on the AARP Tax Aide program, call 1-888-227-7669 or visit AARP's Web site