(Des Moines, Iowa) - The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announces free tax preparation assistance for Iowans with low-to-moderate income, Iowans who are elderly, and Iowans with disabilities. Assistance is available at tax assistance sites throughout Iowa.

Funding for this initiative comes from a two-year grant through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) grant program. VITA is an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) initiative designed to promote and support free tax preparation service for underserved populations.

DHS contracts with the Iowa Center for Economic Success to promote and deliver the tax preparation services through coalition partners across the state. You can find locations and times for tax preparation assistance at:   https://theiowacenter.org/services/tax-services/ or at http://irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep/.

HHS also wants to make sure every Iowa taxpayer is aware of the Earned Income Tax Credit and how to claim it, if eligible.

“The Earned Income Tax Credit can be extremely helpful for working Iowans, providing them more money to help them pay for groceries, housing costs and other bills. We want to spread the word and encourage Iowans eligible to file a tax return - even if they don’t owe any taxes - to take full advantage of the EITC,” said Director Kelly Garcia.

During the 2022 filing season, more than 256,000 Iowa families claimed $493 million in Earned Income Tax Credit. EITC eligibility can be complex and varies by income, family size, and filing status. And, trained volunteers can help Iowans navigate these rules to ensure the largest tax refund possible.

“In 2022, we saw many EITC/VITA sites around the state go back to meeting with taxpayers in person, while using what was learned during COVID to help people who were not able to access an in-person site,” said Karla Evans, government compliance manager for The Iowa Center.  “We were thrilled to see the number of clients rebound after a couple of very challenging years. With many new sites around the state in 2023, we are poised to see the number of Iowans assisted increase even more!”

By visiting a VITA site, Iowans can access IRS-trained and certified volunteers who can help them determine if they qualify for the EITC and other refundable tax credits, such as the Child Tax Credit or education credits. Volunteers at these sites also prepare and e-file (electronically file) tax returns at no cost. More than 350 volunteers prepared approximately 11,000 returns during last year’s filing season.

More details on Free Tax Preparation:  https://theiowacenter.org/services/tax-services/