Free tax prep available for qualified taxpayers

AmeriCorps and VITA are offering tax preparation help for seniors, low-income and disabled citizens.

AmeriCorps and VITA are offering tax preparation help for seniors, low-income and disabled citizens.
Filing federal and state income tax forms can be expensive and complicated; but with the help of a group of local tax-specialist volunteers, Iowa residents can submit 2022 tax forms hassle-free, eliminating both the cost and the worry. 

Who qualifies
The local AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP program cooperates with VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program) to provide free tax preparation and filing services to low-income, senior and disabled members of the community. 
To make an appointment, call the VITA appointment scheduler at 563-277-7246 to request an appointment. 
Although the initial call may be answered by a recorded answering service, volunteers ask callers to be patient. Leave a phone number, and a VITA volunteer will return the call as soon as possible.
VITA volunteers will help determine eligibility for tax preparation services and the best method for submission of materials. Each eligible client will receive assistance from a VITA volunteer to process and submit their tax filing information
There is no charge for VITA tax-filing services; however, RSVP and VITA recommend that individauls call soon. The last date to call for an appointment is Fiday, March 31.
Guidelines to qualify for VITA assistance are:
• Persons with income of $60,000 or less;
• Persons with disabilities;
• Persons with limited English-language fluency.
Services available
VITA volunteers offer four types of client service:
Face-to-Face – taxpayer client (and spouse) meets with two tax-law certified volunteers who will prepare the return while clients wait.
Drop-off – taxpayer client meets with a tax-law certified volunteer, discusses client’s tax documents and an intake form, then leaves. At a later scheduled time, the client picks up the completed tax returns.
Virtual – client scans all the required tax documents and intake form to the tax-law certified volunteers who prepare the tax return. When completed, the volunteer sends the completed returns to the client online.
Do It Yourself – VITA provides free software access for both federal and state returns to anyone making less than $73,000 adjusted gross income. The taxpayer completes his or her own return.

Multiple locations
Call 563-277-7246 for an appointment, and a VITA volunteer will schedule clients for one of the appointment options and provide further instruction.
The regional VITA sites include:   
• ISU Extension office, 2316 Sweet Parkway Road, Decorah;
• Spectrum Kitchen, 200 Railroad Street, Decorah;
• ISU Extension office, 218 7th Avenue SE, Suite 102, Waukon; 
• Cresco Public Library, 320 N. Elm Street, Cresco;
• Postville Public Library, 235 W Tilden Street, Postville;
• ISU Extension Office, 120 S. Main St., Elkader.
Taxpayer packets are also available at the Elma Library, 710 Busti Avenue (form pickup only, no appointments).
Appointments needed
Potential clients must call to schedule an appointment before going to any of the VITA sites. 
The average cost of tax preparation services in the United States is $225, so VITA service saves clients a considerable amount of money they may use for other needs. Each year, the free AmeriCorps tax form preparation program entitles eligible clients to millions of dollars in tax refunds.
VITA has provided tax filing assistance for more than 50 years and is a reliable and trusted service. All VITA volunteers who prepare returns must take and pass tax law training that meets or exceeds IRS standards. This training includes maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of all taxpayer information. 
In addition to requiring volunteers to certify their knowledge of the tax laws, the IRS requires a quality review check for every return prepared at a VITA site prior to filing. Each filing season, tens of thousands of dedicated VITA volunteers prepare millions of federal and state returns. They also assist taxpayers with the preparation of thousands of Facilitated Self-Assistance returns.
The RSVP Volunteer program matches people who are age 55 & older with needs in their community.  Volunteers choose where they would like to volunteer and how much time they will spend volunteering.  
For more information about the RSVP volunteer program and to learn about other volunteer opportunities in the community, contact Deana at the Decorah Public Library 563-277-5181 or