WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service recently awarded over $24 million in Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) grants to organizations that provide free federal tax return preparation.
This year, the IRS awarded grants to 29 TCE and 249 VITA applicants. The TCE grants cover one year and the VITA grants cover two years. The IRS received 336 applications requesting $60.5 million.
The TCE program, established in 1978, provides tax counseling and return preparation nationwide to people who are 60 or older. Volunteers receive training and technical assistance.
The VITA program, created in 1969, assists underserved communities, such as low- and moderate-income individuals and limited English proficient taxpayers. VITA grant recipients provide free federal tax return preparation and electronic filing. Congress first appropriated funds in 2007 to establish a grant program. The grant program helps expand VITA services to underserved populations and increases the number of taxpayers able to file electronically.
The IRS forms partnerships with a wide variety of organizations across the country to develop VITA and TCE programs. Community partners include non-profit agencies, faith-based organizations, community centers and large employers. The IRS provides tax law training, certification and oversight to equip these organizations to prepare accurate returns.
Volunteers continue to provide support to the two programs since they began. This year, volunteers prepared or facilitated the self-preparation of over 3.5 million returns. For more details on how to become a VITA or TCE volunteer, visit IRS Tax Volunteers