1997 Tax Help Archives  

IRS Services Volunteer Tax Assistance,
Toll-Free Telephone, Walk-In Assistance,
& Outreach Programs

This is archived information that pertains only to the 1997 Tax Year. If you
are looking for information for the current tax year, go to the Tax Prep Help Area.

The IRS sponsors volunteer assistance programs and offers help to taxpayers in many of its offices and other community locations.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, which we call VITA, involves IRS-trained volunteers who provide free tax assistance at community locations to individuals who need assistance with basic income tax return preparation. VITA is aimed at those for whom paid assistance may be out of reach, those who are non-English speaking, persons with disabilities, those with a low income, the elderly, and other individuals with special needs.

Another program, Tax Counseling for the Elderly, or TCE, is designed primarily for persons 60 years or older, particularly those who are confined to their residences or retirement communities. IRS-trained volunteers from non-profit organizations provide free tax counseling and basic income tax return preparation to senior citizens. Volunteers travel to taxpayers' homes, if they are unable to come to a local TCE site.

You can get free telephone assistance by calling the local number for the IRS listed in the instructions or in your telephone directory, or by calling 1-800-829-1040. Please use the local number only if it is not a long distance call for you.

When calling this number, you may ask questions to help you prepare your return, or ask about a notice you may have received. Also, in certain areas, IRS has local offices you may visit to receive assistance.

The Community Outreach Tax Education Program offers free tax seminars to groups of people sharing common tax interests. IRS employees or trained volunteers conduct tax information seminars at convenient times and places in the community. The seminars can cover a variety of topics tailored to the needs of your organization's members and may include films or videotapes and discussion of tax questions. This program also offers line-by-line self-help tax return preparation for taxpayers who want to prepare their own returns.

If you plan to take advantage of any of the volunteer assistance programs or the self-help return preparation, be sure to bring your current year blank income tax forms, W-2's, 1099's, a list of income and expenses, and a copy of last year's return.

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