Last year, VITA and TCE volunteers in the Lowcountry prepared close to 2200 federal tax returns for qualified taxpayers for FREE! Which resulted in over $4.5 million dollars in tax refunds being returned directly to the local economy!!
The IRS and its community partners are looking for people around the country to become IRS-certified volunteers at their FREE tax preparation sites. Volunteers can start now to join the Lowcountry Area VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Coaltion that offers invaluable help to taxpayers locally.
VITA offers free tax return preparation to eligible taxpayers who generally earn $55,000 or less. And TCE (Tax Counseling for the Elderly) is mainly for people age 60 or older. The Lowcountry Area VITA Coalition also serves those that are differently-abled, as well as, those whose first language is not English.
Many volunteers return to the program year after year. Here are several reasons why:
- Volunteers can work flexible hours. Volunteers can generally choose their own hours and days to volunteer. The programs are usually open from mid-to-late-January through the tax filing deadline in April. Some sites are even open all year.
- VITA and TCE sites are often close to home. With sites in Beaufort, Bluffton, Hilton Head, Hardeeville, and Ridgeland, volunteers are needed right in your own backyard. FREE tax help sites are in the local libraries and community centers. But we are always looking for new sites to meet the needs of the community!!
- No prior experience needed. Volunteers receive specialized training to become IRS-certified and can choose from a variety of roles to serve. VITA and TCE programs want volunteers of all backgrounds and ages, as well as individuals who are fluent in other languages.
- The IRS provides free tax law training and materials. Volunteers receive training materials at no charge. The tax law training covers how to prepare basic federal tax returns electronically. The training also covers tax topics like deductions and credits.
- Tax pros can earn continuing education credits. Enrolled agents and non-credentialed tax return preparers can earn continuing education credits when volunteering as a VITA/TCE instructor, quality reviewer or tax return preparer.