POSTED: Friday, February 24, 2012 - 9:00am
UPDATED: Friday, February 24, 2012 - 9:04am
UNITED STATES —
As part of a continuing effort to improve service to taxpayers, the Internal Revenue Service announced today the availability of a new online tool to help people easily find a location for volunteer tax preparation assistance.
The new tool, available 24 hours a day on IRS.gov, makes it easier than ever for qualified individuals to find free help through the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Volunteers at VITA locations generally offer tax preparation for people with incomes of $50,000 or less free of charge.
Taxpayers can search the word “VITA” in IRS.gov and click on the option “Free Tax Return Preparation For You by Volunteers,” followed by ”Find a VITA site near you” to access the tool.
Once there, an easy-to-use locator prompts users to enter a zip code to search thousands of free tax preparation sites, narrowing the results to a selected radius. VITA sites are listed by location name, address, phone number, days and hours of operation, and the language-assistance options offered. Finally, taxpayers select a specific tax preparation site to get a map to provide step-by-step directions.
The VITA program has enjoyed tremendous support since it was created in 1969. For example, more than 3 million tax returns were prepared during the 2011 filing season by volunteers working under either the VITA program or the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program.
The Tax Counseling for the Elderly program provides free tax service for all taxpayers with priority assistance to taxpayers 60 and older. A TCE locator is available on the AARP site at www.AARP.org .
The new VITA locator tool is part of a number of enhancements to IRS.gov. The IRS has updated the front page of its website to make it easier for people to get key forms, information and file tax returns. Additional improvements are planned for IRS.gov in the months ahead.
In addition to these resources, the IRS website has a wealth of free information and tax support. The official IRS website is www.irs.gov . Taxpayers are urged not to be confused by Internet sites that end in .com, .net, .org or anything other than .gov.