Free tax assistance available for those with low to moderate incomes

IRS tax forms are pictured with a note on top that reads: Taxes? Assistance Available.

Rhode Islanders with low or moderate incomes may qualify for free help preparing and e-filing their taxes.

It’s time to file your tax return! Returns are due by April 15, 2024. The good news is that if you are a Rhode Islander with a low or modest income, you may qualify for free help.

Individuals who need assistance with filing tax returns may request help from a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site in Rhode Island. If you qualify, a trained volunteer can help you prepare and e-file your taxes and apply for certain tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. 

To find a site near you, you can call United Way at 211 or use this VITA  locator. Enter your ZIP code and the number of miles you are willing to travel to receive help. You should always call the agency for an appointment and ask them to provide a list of documents that you will need to bring.

Older adults may prefer to use the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Program, which is designed primarily for adults 60 and older.  

IRS manages both the VITA and TCE programs, but they are operated by IRS partners and staffed by volunteers who wish to make a difference in their communities.  All volunteers are well-trained and certified. 

Low to moderate income taxpayers who prefer to prepare and file their own returns may be able to access tax preparation software for free through the “Rhode Island Free File” program, which enables those who meet certain requirements to prepare and e-file both federal and Rhode Island tax returns at no charge. “Free File” is a partnership between the IRS, the Rhode Island Division of Taxation, a number of other states and the Free File Alliance. 

You can choose from several different software programs. You should be aware that this service will work correctly only if you use it to file both your state and federal tax returns. Also note that you should read all information carefully before using the software. If you do not qualify for free use of the software, you will be charged for its use.