The Lowcountry Area VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Coalition and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) are seeking volunteers to help local taxpayers file their tax returns for free in the upcoming tax season.

Last year, VITA and TCE volunteers in the Lowcountry prepared nearly 2,200 federal tax returns for qualified taxpayers for free.

This resulted in more than $4.5 million dollars in tax refunds being returned directly to the local economy.

The IRS and its community partners are looking for people around the country to become IRS-certified volunteers at their free tax preparation sites.

Volunteers can start now to join the Lowcountry Area VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Coalition.

VITA offers free tax return preparation to eligible taxpayers who generally earn $55,000 or less. TCE is mainly for people age 60 or older. The Lowcountry Area VITA Coalition also serves those that are differently abled, as well as those whose first language is not English.

Volunteers will be trained and certified by the IRS; there is no cost for the training or materials. No prior experience needed.

VITA and TCE seek volunteers of all backgrounds and ages, as well as individuals who are fluent in other languages.

Hours are flexible. The programs are usually open from mid- to-late-January through the tax filing deadline in April.

For more information, contact Theresa Jackson, Lowcountry VITA program director, at lowcountryvitacoalition at 843-321-9071.