WHY DO I NEED TO KNOW THIS?
Every year many disabled and senior citizens go to a commercial tax preparation service and pay a fee to have their taxes prepared and/or get an advance on their return. Getting an advance on a tax return is not advisable for those receiving Social Security Administration disability benefits. Paying for tax preparation may not be necessary for many customers.
Customers earning below $57,000 gross annually may qualify for free tax preparation assistance through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. VITA is an IRS funded grant program that assists qualified individuals in preparing and electronically filing their own tax returns at no cost. Due to COVID-19 some VITA sites may not be operating this year. See below for link to VITA sites.
AARP Foundation’s Tax-Aide program assists those 50 and older who are low to moderate income with assistance in preparing, or doing the preparation of tax returns . Go to the AARP website for more information: https://taxaide.aarpfoundation.org/?cmp=RDRCT-30faaa25-20210218.
Customers with adjusted gross income of $36,000 or those who are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit can file their taxes online for free through Turbo Tax: https://accounts-tax.intuit.com/turbotaxonline (no assistance provided).
Customers with adjusted gross income between $14,000 and $69,000 can file for free via OnLine Taxes: https://www.olt.com/main/home/default.asp (no assistance provided).
Active duty members of the military with adjusted gross Incomes of $69,000 or less can file for free using Turbo Tax or OnLine Taxes (no assistance provided).
The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax assistance to those age 60 or older: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/tax-counseling-for-the-elderly. Check the individual organization’s site for income restrictions.
SERVICES PROVIDED BY VITA PROGRAMS
The VITA programs are operated by IRS-certified volunteers.
Sites will prepare:
· Wages, salaries, etc. (Form W-2)
· Interest Income (Form 1099-INT)
· Dividends Received (Form 1099-DIV)
· State Tax Refunds (Form 1099-G)
· Unemployment Benefits (Form 1099-G)
· IRA Distributions (Form 1099-R)
· Pension Income (Forms 1099-R, RRB-1099, CSA-1099)
· Social Security Benefits (Form SSA-1099)
· Simple Capital Gain/Loss (Form 1099-B)
· Sale of Home (Form 1099-S) limited
· Self-employed Income (Form 1099-MISC) limited
· Gambling Winnings (Form W-2G)
· Cancellation of Debt (Form 1099-C) limited
· Health Savings Accounts (Form 1099-SA) limited
· Itemized Deductions limited
· Education Credits (Form 1098-T)
· Child Tax Credit
· Earned Income Credit
· ACA Statements (Forms 1095-A, B or C)
· Prior Year and Amended Returns limited
WHAT SHOULD THEY BRING TO A VITA?
For married filing joint, both spouses must be present.
· All Forms W-2 and 1099;
· Information for other income;
· Information for all deductions/credits;
· A copy of last year’s tax return;
· Proof of account for direct deposit of refund;
· Social Security cards or Individual Taxpayer Identification notices/cards for the customer and/or spouse, and/or dependents;
· Proof of identification for the customer and/or spouse;
· Total paid to day care provider and provider’s tax ID number;
· Birth dates for customer, spouse and/or dependents on the return;
· Proof of foreign status if applying for ITIN;
· Forms 1095-A, B or C (ACA Statements); and
· For prior year returns, copies of income transcripts from IRS (and state, if applicable).
WHERE TO FIND A VITA
Use the VITA/TCE Locator Tool at: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/free-tax-return-preparation-for-you-by-volunteers
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