St Paul (KROC AM News) - Thousands of Minnesotans are being advised they may be eligible for assistance in filing their income taxes this year - free.

The Minnesota Department of Revenue has announced that over 200 sites will be offering free tax assistance for those filing income tax and property tax refund returns.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and AARP Tax-Aide programs are two free tax preparation options where volunteers help Minnesotans prepare their federal and state returns. The IRS certifies volunteers from both programs to prepare basic tax returns in communities across Minnesota.

You can get help at a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site if any of the following apply:
You are age 60 or older.
You are a person with a disability.
You speak limited or no English.
Your annual income is less than $56,000.

The AARP Tax-Aide program offers free tax preparation for all Minnesotans, particularly those age 50 or older. Unlike VITA sites, AARP Tax-Aide sites do not have income restrictions.

You will need to bring certain items with you when visiting a site such as a photo ID, W-2 information, banking information for direct deposit, and other applicable items. Visit our website for a list of suggested items to bring to a tax preparation site.

Free electronic filing is also available for Minnesotans with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $69,000 or less. To see if you are eligible for free electronic filing, see the Electronic Filing Software for Individuals page on the department’s website.

You can search for a site near you on the department’s website using their search feature and interactive map. You can search for sites by zip code or county, and find sites with interpreters and volunteers certified to file military returns. The interactive map has search options by city, county, or zip code.

Last year, the VITA program prepared more than 71,000 federal tax returns, more than 75,000 Minnesota income tax returns and almost 57,000 property tax refund returns for Minnesota taxpayers. All those returns provided more than $133 million in federal, state income, and property tax refunds.

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