The Internal Revenue Service recently awarded $51 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 45 TCE and 300 VITA applicants. The IRS received 429 applications requesting over $170 million in funding.

“As a part of the transformation of IRS, connecting with communities and providing resources through partnerships is part of our effort to ensure fair and equitable administration of taxes and provide valuable credits to those in need,” said Ken Corbin, the IRS Wage and Investment commissioner in a news release. “Grants ensure that these partners have access and are available.”

The TCE Program

The TCE program, established in 1978, provides free tax counseling and federal return preparation to individuals who are age 60 or older. Volunteers receive training and technical assistance to assist at community locations across the nation.

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. The grant program helps to expand VITA services to underserved populations.

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 these organizations assisting their efforts to prepare accurate returns.

“VITA and TCE grant recipients work hard to improve the taxpayer experience in their own backyards,” said Maryann Enciso, acting national director for Stakeholder Partnerships, Education, and Communication. “We are pleased to award these grants to our dedicated partners who provide quality tax preparation financial education and asset building in their local communities. VITA/TCE is a ’cause not a program’ to help American taxpayers.”

For information on applying for the TCE or VITA programs along with a list of current grant recipients, visit the TCE webpage or the VITA webpage. For details on becoming a TCE or VITA volunteer, visit IRS Tax Volunteers.

Source: IRS