Let’s be honest, filing your taxes can be tricky — and expensive.
Philadelphia is loaded with free options to get your taxes done, you just have to know where to look.
Whether you need general tax assistance, help in a language other than English, or are a student or older adult, here’s our guide to free national and local services, including filing for the Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, and other deductions if you’re eligible. If you want information on getting your Philly city wage tax refund, check out our guide here.
The Internal Revenue Service offers free in-person tax services one Saturday a month from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in February, March, April and May to help you file your taxes and answer any questions you may have. No appointments are needed.
In Philadelphia, the IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center at 600 Arch St. is accepting walk-in clients on these Saturdays: Feb. 11, March 11, April 8 and May 13.
For other IRS offices open on Saturdays, visit the agency’s website at IRS.gov/saturdayhours.
IRS free tax help tool
This is a great place to start, no matter what kind of help you need. Check to see whether there is a free local tax prep provider near you by using the IRS Free Tax Help Tool.
Eligibility: If you make less than $60,000 a year, the tool helps you find organizations that offer free tax prep services. All organizations listed should offer free prep for taxpayers with a disability or limited English, but check beforehand.
The program is funded through federal programs that the IRS oversees, such as the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs. It’s safe, easy, and gives you results based on zip code.
Campaign for Working Families (CWF)
Eligibility: CWF offers free tax preparation services for people in Southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey who make less than $65,000 a year.
They offer online and in-person services by appointment.
IRS Free File is a free federal service that will help you file your federal, and in some cases, state income taxes online through partnerships with private tax service providers, such as H&R Block. However, these programs through big tax preparers have been the target of recent lawsuits claiming they obstruct or mislead taxpayers from using free file services, and instead direct people to use their fee-based services. During the 2021 filing season, only 4% of eligible taxpayers used the free service.
Eligibility: You must make less than $73,000 a year.
IRS Free File partners with eligible tax service providers to guide you through filing. While most providers do not charge you for also filing your state taxes with the service, some do. Providers have to tell you about any fees on their IRS Free File landing page. To get started, visit their website.
Temple’s VITA program is a free tax preparation service that will be operating in person out of two sites: one at Temple’s Main Campus on Wednesday afternoons, and the other at Temple’s Ambler Campus on Saturday afternoons. Both sites will be by appointment only, Feb. 8 through April 15.
Eligibility: You must have an annual income of less than $60,000, not own your own business, not own rental property, and be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
Main Campus, Wednesdays: 1810 North 13th St., Philadelphia 19122
Ambler Campus, Saturdays: 580 Meetinghouse Road, Ambler 19002
To schedule an appointment or for more information, email [email protected] or call 215-326-9519.
FREE TAX PREP IN OTHER LANGUAGES
Before you start, the IRS Free File Tool offers assistance in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian and Vietnamese. The IRS Free File Tool handles only online filing. If you need more specialized help, check the categories below.
Congreso de Latinos Unidos offers free tax preparation services in both English and Spanish. Eligibility: You must make less than $56,000 a year. From January to April, Congreso offers tax preparation by appointment. Call 215-763-8870 or email [email protected] to make an appointment. For more information visit their website.
Ceiba offers free tax preparation services in both English and Spanish. All tax preparation services are by appointment only. Call 215-634-7245 to make an appointment. For more information, visit ceibaphiladelphia.org/free-tax-preparation.
HACE CDC offers free tax preparation services in both English and Spanish. All tax preparation services are by appointment only. Call 215-426-8025.
PCDC’s VITA program is a free tax preparation service. PCDC operates its VITA tax site from February through mid-April every year. Eligibility: You must make less than $60,000 a year, do not own your own business or own rental property, and must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. To get started, visit the website.
In-person: File or drop off documents at PCDC’s Crane Center at 1001 Vine St. Call ahead: 215-922-6156.
The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation’s VITA program is a free tax preparation service. Eligibility: You must make less than $60,000 a year, not own your own business or rental property, and must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. You must also have made less than five stock transactions in the previous year. Services are offered in English, Chinese and Cantonese. All tax preparation services are by appointment only. Call 215-627-1915 to make an appointment. For more information, visit the website or email [email protected].
CFW is using Language Line to accommodate other language speakers when assisting them with their taxes. Check with CFW to see whether you can receive help in your preferred language:
FREE TAX PREP FOR OLDER ADULTS
IRS Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program
The IRS provides free tax preparation services for those 60 and older through the TCE program. The federal tax assistance service operates Jan. 1 through April 15, every year, at eligible tax service providers. A majority of TCE locations are operated through the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Tax Aide program, which can be found below. Eligibility: You must be age 60 or older and make less than $60,000.
TCE program locations in Philly:
The AARP provides free tax preparation services to anyone, but focuses on adults aged 50 and over with low to moderate income. These providers offer in-person, online, or low-contact services. You can find a free tax help site near you on AARP’s website. If you want to do your own taxes online, AARP can provide a counselor to help guide you through the process. To get started, fill out their online form.
FREE TAX PREP FOR STUDENTS
Students who have basic tax filings can usually do their taxes using free online tax prep services, such as IRS Free File. However, many universities participate in the federal VITA program and help students with free tax assistance. Check with your school first to see whether it will offer free tax help. If not, check out these resources:
Remember: The IRS cannot issue refunds that include an earned income tax credit or an additional child tax credit until mid-February.
Check the status of your refund 24 hours after electronically filing with your Social Security number, filing status and refund amount on your 2022 tax return. Taxpayers who file a paper return should wait at least six weeks before checking their refund status.
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