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Tax Return Season in Full Swing, Free Tax Preparation Help Available on Long Island

We're a few months away from April 15 - the deadline date for filing income tax returns, but get started now with free tax preparation help on Long Island through IRS's VITA and TCE programs.

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By now, the W-2s, 1099s, and other documents needed to complete tax return filings should be in, which officially kick-starts the tax return season!

If all these forms have you wanting to go into hiding, don’t fear because help is near.

Once again, the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Program are available to offer free tax help to those who qualify. Help is generally available to individuals who make $52,000 or less, through VITA, and to those who are 60 years of age and older, through TCE.

IRS-certified volunteers provide qualified individuals with tax return preparation and filings and are also on hand to help with answering tax questions and offer counseling. There are also bilingual tax assistants available at certain locations.

On Long Island, select Bethpage Federal and Teachers Federal credit union sites, select public libraries and town senior citizen centers are hosting the programs.

Find the nearest VITA site by calling (800) 906-9887 or using the VITA Locator Tool. Information on the nearest TCE site (a majority of which are operated by the AARP Foundation’s Tax Aide Program) is available by calling (888) 227-7669 or using the AARP Site Locator Tool.

Free tax preparation help is available through April, as most sites close the program following the April 15 deadline to file income tax returns. Individuals seeking help should find out the hours of operation for the program at the site, if an appointment is necessary, and bring the following:

  • photo identification
  • Social Security cards for self, spouse and dependents
  • Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) assignment letters
  • proof of foreign status (if applicable)
  • birth dates to include in tax return
  • wage and earning statements (W-2, W2G, 1099-R, 1099-MISC)
  • interest and dividend statements (1099s)
  • a copy of last year’s federal and state filing
  • proof of bank account and routing number for direct deposit of any refunds
  • total paid for daycare provider and the provider’s tax ID (if applicable)
  • If taxes are to be filed electronically and it’s for a married-filing-jointly tax return, both spouses must be present to sign forms.

[Source: IRS Free Tax Return Preparation Programs]