Help your clients find resources to prepare their tax returns for free, choose a paid preparer, avoid making common errors on their tax return and avoid being the victim of a tax scam.
Free Volunteer Assistance
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Program offer free tax help to taxpayers who qualify. Trained volunteers from non-profit organizations provide free tax counseling, basic federal tax return preparation and electronic filing.
The Military Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (M-VITA) Program provides free tax advice and tax preparation services to armed forces personnel and their families. They can find free tax preparation assistance at offices at their installations in the United States and foreign countries. Volunteers are trained to address military-specific tax issues, such as combat zone tax benefits.
For more details and to find VITA and TCE locations, see Free Tax Preparation for Qualifying Taxpayers.
Free Self-Service Assistance
IRS Free File lets taxpayers prepare and file their federal income taxes online securely for free. File at an IRS partner site with the IRS Free File Program or use Free File fillable forms. Qualified taxpayers choose an option based on their adjusted gross income. For more details, see Free File: Do your Federal Taxes for Free.
Common Tax Return Errors
Your clients are responsible for what’s on their tax return, even when someone else prepares it for them. Help them understand the common errors taxpayers make when claiming EITC on a tax return and what they can do to avoid them.
We continue to look for ways to reduce these errors. Taxpayers should reply promptly to any letter from us. Call the number in their IRS letter if your client has questions.
For more details, see Common Errors for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and What to Do if We Deny Your Claim for a Credit
Beware of scams to increase the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) refund, such as lying about the number of qualifying children or falsely increasing income levels to get the maximum EITC. If you or your client make errors like this on a tax return on purpose, you and your client could get penalties, and it may affect your client’s future eligibility to claim the EITC.
See IRS Unveils List of “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams for 2020.
Choosing a Tax Return Preparer Wisely
Some of your clients may prefer to have their tax return prepared by a paid tax return preparer. Taxpayers should use tax preparers they trust. For more details, see choosing a tax preparer.
Avoid "ghost" tax return preparers who refuses to sign your tax return. By law, anyone who is paid to prepare or assists in preparing federal tax returns must sign and include a valid Preparer Tax Identification Number, or PTIN on the return.
See Beware of "ghost" preparers who don't sign tax returns for more information.