Free tax prep available for qualified taxpayers

Volunteers with AmeriCorps and VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) are now offering tax preparation help for qualified seniors, low-income and disabled citizens

The local program staff said filing federal and state income tax forms can be expensive and complicated; but with the help of a group of local tax-specialist volunteers, 2023 tax forms can be submitted 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. Callers are asked to leave a phone number, and a VITA volunteer will return the call as soon as possible.

VITA volunteers will help you determine if you are eligible for tax preparation services and the best method for submission of your 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 calling soon. The last date to call for an appointment is March 29.

Guidelines to qualify for VITA assistance are as follows:

Persons with income of $64,000 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 your return while you 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 you for one of the appointment options and provide further instruction.

The regional VITA sites include:

Decorah – ISU Extension office, 2316 Sweet Parkway Road, Decorah

Decorah Public Library, 202 Winnebago Street, Decorah

Waukon – ISU Extension office, 218 7th Avenue SE, Suite 102, Waukon

Cresco – Cresco Public Library, 320 N. Elm Street, Cresco

Postville – Postville Public Library, 235 W Tilden Street, Postville

Elkader – ISU Extension Office, 120 S. Main St., Elkader

Appointments needed

You must call to schedule an appointment before you go 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 your community, contact Deana at the Decorah Public Library 563-277-5181 or rsvp@decorahlibrary.or

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Nooria Rasouli
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4 months ago

Tax return