It’s Tax Season. Need Some Help? 

Fortunately for most of us seniors, filing taxes is a relatively uncomplicated process. For others, however, making sure we are filing correctly can be baffling or intimidating. 

Enter AARP’s annual free tax assistance for seniors. In a partnership with the IRS, highly trained volunteer tax counselors help people navigate the process seamlessly. Locally, their services are offered at the Rehoboth Beach and Lewes libraries, Long Neck United Methodist Church and the CHEER Center, and the Lewes, Indian River and Nanticoke Senior Centers. 

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been assisting seniors and people with special needs with their tax returns through its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCA) programs. In addition to their partnership with AARP, they also offer online help. Free services are available for people with incomes less than $64,000. 

All IRS volunteers are certified by the agency prior to participating. Many of the volunteers are retired IRS employees or accountants. They are trained in tax law, both at the federal and state levels. The IRS guarantees privacy for people using its service. 

The federal government also provides online assistance, help lines and descriptions of eligible deductions and other topics on its Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) website. Although the site reveals that in-person assistance is not available anywhere in Sussex County, help lines are available as an option. 

Another option few people in Delaware seem to be aware of is a program provided by United Way, “My Free Taxes DE”. Like the IRS model, the free service is limited to people whose income is less than $64,000. Using H&R Block software, My Free Taxes makes (for most people) filing easy. Participants can choose whether to file on their own, the fastest method, or have their taxes prepared by a VITA and TCE certified volunteer. The latter usually takes one to two weeks. My Free Taxes DE also offers a help line during the process. 

Surprisingly, there are also free tax preparation services available via commercial providers such as H&R Block. This link lists its choice of the top ten free services or software. Examples include: 

  • H&R Block 
  • INTUIT’s Turbo Tax Free Edition 

Similarly, income and other restrictions apply, but if you are a DIY-er and are comfortable filing on your own online, their templates simplify the filing process. 

Instead of using any of the aforementioned websites and live tax preparation services, those seeking tax filing instructions by the IRS can refer to its step-by-step web page. 

With all of the information and services available to us, both in-person and online, tax season should run pretty smoothly. Remember, there is plenty of assistance available. 

 Bridget FitzPatrick 

2 responses to “It’s Tax Season. Need Some Help? 

    1. Hi Eleanor, we are glad to direct you to where to get help. I hope one of these locations is close to you:

      If you live in/near Lewes, AARP is doing tax help at the Lewes Public Library, Thursdays 8am – 3pm, Feb 8 – April 11. You must CALL for an appointment: 302-703-7198.
      If you live in/near Bridgeville, AARP is doing tax help at the Bridgeville Library, Wednesdays 10am – 2pm, Feb 7 – April 10. You must CALL for an appointment: (302) 337-7401 ext.101
      If you live in/near Laurel, AARP is doing tax help at the Laurel Public Library, Thursdays 10am – 2:15pm, Feb. 8 – April 11. You must CALL for an appointment: 302.875.3184

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