Check back after February 22 for updates about our 2021 tax season services.
Military Member needing tax assistance?
CTA volunteers are not trained or certified to prepare tax returns for members of the military. But, military members and their families can receive free assistance filing their tax returns. To find out more, check out: https://www.militaryonesource.mil/financial-legal/tax-services
Free Online Preparation and efiling
Between mid-January and November 15 each year, you can prepare and file your federal tax returns for free if your income is less than $59,000. For more information, go to: http://ctadc.org/file-online/.
Tax Season Assistance
From February to mid-April, CTA provides free tax preparation services to individuals with no more than $35,000 in income and families with no more than $58,000 in income. This free service is provided by trained volunteers. Our volunteers are students, accountants, lawyers, administrators, community volunteers, and interpreters, who dedicate countless hours to our programs. From February to April, our volunteers prepare taxes at our sites, which are located in Northern Virginia, D.C., and Montgomery County and Prince George’s County in Maryland.
See links to the left or below for information on locations, eligibility, and what to bring.
Need to Choose a Paid Preparer?
Qualifications to Prepare Tax Returns.
In most states, the only requirement to become a paid preparer is to register with the IRS and obtain a PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number), but there is NO test of tax return preparation knowledge to obtain a PTIN.
Before Choosing a Preparer:
- Check their credentials. For more information see: http://www.irs.gov/Tax-Professionals/Choosing-a-Tax-Professional
- Select a tax preparer that you can contact later in case the IRS has questions about your tax return.
- Ask your friends, family and community members for recommendations. You can also research the tax preparer with your local Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org) to see if any complaints have been filed.
- Ask about fees to have your taxes prepared before scheduling an appointment. Be sure to ask if there are any fees for additional schedules or forms, like the Schedule EIC, used to claim the Earned Income Credit.
While at a Tax Preparer:
- Do not leave originals of documents with a tax preparer if he or she needs to work on your tax return when you are not present.
- Avoid a tax preparer who suggests you lie or make up information. You will be held responsible for errors, NOT the preparer.
- Do not sign a blank tax return or a return completed in pencil. Sign a tax return in pen, only after you’ve reviewed and understand it. Check names, addresses, Social Security numbers and wage information. Ask questions to understand the reason for any refund you get or taxes that you owe.
- Check to make sure the tax preparer signs the return. The tax preparer must include their name, address and Preparer Identification Number (PTIN). (If you go to a free VITA or AARP site, the site will “sign” the return by filling in the PTIN.)
- Request a copy of your completed tax return. Write down the preparer’s phone number to call if you have additional questions about your tax return later.
Community Tax Aid does not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, and reprisal for previous civil rights activities. CTA will make every effort to provide reasonable accommodations to persons with physical disabilities, sensory loss, or limited English proficiency. These accommodations will be provided at no cost to the taxpayer.