Free Tax Preparation Options for 2024

two people sit in an office with a third person who is a tax preparer looking over their tax information

The IRS began accepting electronically filed tax returns on January 29th. There are lots of tax preparers out there promising big refunds, but how do you know you can trust them? 

There are many Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites in Philadelphia, where staff and volunteers who were trained by the IRS are ready to do your tax return correctly and for free. You can find in-person VITA sites at the IRS’s VITA finder, on, or at Campaign for Working Families’ website at

The Campaign for Working Families is the largest VITA provider in Philadelphia, and there are also virtual options on their website and on, where you can get your taxes done from home for free using your computer or smartphone.

If you are just looking for free tax preparation software to do your own taxes, you can find free options on this IRS webpage:

Sometimes paid tax preparers will say they can get you your refund more quickly than a VITA site can, but is it really worth the amount they will charge? Additionally, if they make a mistake or do something wrong, that could delay your refund or cause even bigger problems.

If you choose to pay a preparer to do your taxes, make sure they do all of the following:

  • Put their name and PTIN on your tax return
  • Review the tax return with you 
  • Explain everything before you sign it 
  • Give you a copy of your filed tax return
  • Give you a receipt explaining all of the fees you are paying (or that they will take out of your refund) 

Remember, you are responsible for what gets filed in your name.

If you are worried that your tax refund will get taken for an old IRS debt you have, you still might qualify to get your refund if you can show that you are suffering financial hardship and will suffer harm if the IRS takes your refund. For example, if you need your refund to pay rent or utilities and without it you will be evicted or your utilities will be cut off.

You need to ask the IRS for the Hardship Refund, sometimes called an Offset Bypass Refund, before you file your tax return. The best way to do this is to contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service and ask them to review your eligibility for a Hardship Refund before you file your return.

You can double-check that your refund won’t get taken for a non-IRS debt by calling the Treasury Offset Program’s automated line: 1-800-304-3107.  This could be for an unemployment or SNAP overpayment, child support, or a student loan. If you call and it says you have a debt, then you won’t be eligible for a Hardship Refund, and you should try to resolve the debt with the agency you owe before filing your return.

Need more tax help? Call our intake at 215-981-3800 between 9:30am and 12pm Monday through Thursday or apply online at