It’s time to get busy filling out your income tax return. Mercifully, you don’t have to pore over thousands of pages of the IRS tax code, nor do you have to pay an expensive accountant in order to get your taxes done by the April tax filing deadline.
If you are a low-moderate income earner, or if you can’t prepare you own taxes, you can get help in filling out your tax return and even claiming the EITC from a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site in your area.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program is a free tax preparation service offered by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The program provides free tax help to people who generally make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities, and limited English-speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. VITA volunteers are IRS-certified and can provide assistance with filing taxes, understanding tax laws, and other related services. If your employer has not reported your wages to the IRS, VITA volunteers can also help you file an accurate return and make sure all of your income is reported.
The VITA Program operates nationwide, and is staffed by individuals who are trained in completing basic tax returns. You can find a local VITA site by calling 800-829-1040. Most of the country’s 12,000-plus VITA sites are run out of community agencies, neighborhood centers, libraries and schools.
Here is what the IRS recommends you bring to a VITA site to have your tax returns prepared:
- ID: Proof of identification
- SS cards: Social Security Cards for you, your spouse and dependents and/or a Social Security Number verification letter issued by the Social Security Administration
- DOB: Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents on the tax return
- Tax forms: Current year’s tax package if you received one
- W2: Wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, from all employers
- 1099: Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
- Last return: A copy of last year’s federal and state returns if available
- Bank info: Bank routing numbers and account numbers for Direct Deposit
- Daycare info: Total paid for daycare provider and the daycare provider’s tax identifying number (the provider’s Social Security Number or the provider’s business Employer Identification Number)