Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
What is United Way of Greater Stark County’s VITA program? Have your tax return prepared and e-filed by our IRS trained and certified volunteers for FREE. If you file using direct deposit, you’ll have your tax refund in as soon as 7-10 days. You may qualify for the EITC credit and receive up to $6,318 per taxpaying family. If you earned $65,000 or less last year, call us today to see if you qualify to file with VITA.
The VITA call center is open January 2 to April 12, Monday through Thursday, 10AM - 5PM. Drop-off service available February 12 to April 9 on Mondays from 10:30AM - 5:30PM.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. DO YOU QUALIFY FOR THE EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT (EITC)?
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable tax credit issued by the federal government to low-income taxpayers. To claim the EITC, the IRS requires that you earn regular income from a job in the form of wages, tips, commission and salaries. While the EITC is able to help many people, many who qualify for this credit, do not claim it. The EITC is one of the largest anti-poverty tools in the United States. You could be new to EITC. About one-third of the EITC eligible population turns over each year, so check your EITC eligibility today at www.irs.gov/eitc ».
2017 Tax Year Adjusted Gross Income Limits for the Earned Income Tax Credit - Earned income and Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) must each be less than:
$47,955 ($53,505 married filing jointly) with three or more qualifying children – Maximum EITC for 201 is $6,318.
United Way of Greater Stark County's Free Tax Preparation program offers free tax help to people who make $65,000 or less and married filing jointly up to $95,000, who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation to qualified taxpayers in our local communities. Do you qualify? Visit www.irs.gov/eitc.
2. WHY USE VITA?
Trained Certified by the IRS, our volunteers go through rigorous training and extensive testing to make sure tax return is prepared correctly.
Fast Did you know that when you pay for a rapid refund, you are actually taking out a loan? Sometimes those loans charge you up to $400 in interest, in addition to the up-front fees! If you file electronically through United Way's Free Tax Preparation program, you will securely receive your refund in your bank account(s) within 7 - 10 days and at no cost.
Free We provide a free alternative to other places that charge you a high fee to get your refund. Why pay for tax preparation when you can get it done free? You earned it—it belongs in your pocket!
3. DO I QUALIFY FOR VITA?
Low-to-moderate income limit for 2017 tax year is $52,000. United Way of Greater Stark County’s Free Tax Preparation Service is a VITA site; however we have chosen to use the free tax software from the Ohio Benefit Bank. The Ohio Benefit Bank has higher earned income limits permissible surrounding free tax preparation.
Singles: Income up to $65,000
Filing married and filing jointly, $95,000 or less
Free Tax Preparation Out of Scope: Farm Income | Other Gains and Losses | Schedule C – we can complete a Schedule C-EZ with itemized expense of no more than $5,000 | Amended Returns | Rental Income and Schedule K
Remember, to ensure your tax preparer is available, you must make an appointment.
4. WHY PAY SOMEONE OR LEAVE THE COMFORT OF YOUR HOME?
Would you feel comfortable preparing your own taxes or preparing them with a little help? It’s cold outside, you want to stay in; however, you want to get your taxes done?
United Way of Greater Stark County’s Free Tax Preparation provides an opportunity for you to prepare your own taxes for free. Why go out and spend the money to purchase the software or pay for electronic filing when you have access to the Ohio Benefit Bank Self Link?
From the comfort of your home, if you are single and have earned an income of 65,000 or less or if married filing jointly and earned an income of less than $95,000, you can file your own taxes. The Ohio Benefit Bank Self Serve is a secure website, which you can access as long as you have a computer available and access to the internet. So, click the link, create a secure login and password, and prepare your taxes and e-File both your federal and state tax returns. As you're preparing them, something comes up; that’s ok, you can log-out and log-in back in at your own convenience. You will be notified by email if your returns were accepted, and once accepted it can be directly deposited into your checking and or savings account(s) in as little as 7 days. File your own taxes for free » and help yourself to savings!
Need a little help? Contact us at 330-491-9989 or by email ».
5. WHAT SHOULD I BRING TO MY APPOINTMENT?
A copy of last year’s federal and state returns with your Ohio Benefit Bank Login & Password-if applicable
Proof of identification (photo ID)
Social Security cards for you, your spouse and dependents
An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) assignment letter may be substituted for you, your spouse and your dependents if you do not have a Social Security number
Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents on the tax return
Wage and earning statements (Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R,1099-Misc) from all employers
Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
All Forms 1095, Health Insurance Statements (1095-A, B or C, Affordable Health Care Statements)
Health Insurance Exemption Certificate, if received
Proof of bank account routing and account numbers for direct deposit such as a blank check **Deposit Slip not acceptable**
To file taxes electronically on a married-filing-joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms
Total paid for daycare provider and the daycare provider's tax identifying number such as their Social Security number or business Employer Identification Number
Copies of income transcripts from IRS and state, if applicable
6. WHAT VITA VOLUNTEER POSITIONS ARE AVAILABLE?
United Way of Greater Stark County is looking for volunteers now who will provide free tax help this upcoming tax season. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance is a community-based program. We provide free tax return preparation for people who need tax help but can’t afford it. People with low-to-moderate incomes, seniors, people with disabilities and those with limited English skills usually qualify for this free service.
As of 2015, in Stark County Ohio, there were a reported 116,526 individuals that qualify for free tax preparation services; of those 69,506 individuals paid a preparer on average $225 to have their tax returned prepared. Help us to keep more money in the pockets of those who earned it.
No previous experience is required. Volunteers receive specialized training and have the option of serving in a variety of roles. If you’re fluent in a language other than English, you can help those who do not speak English.
IRS provides free tax law training and materials that allow volunteers to prepare basic individual income tax returns. Volunteers learn many aspects of tax return preparation. This includes tax deductions and credits that benefit eligible taxpayers, like the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Credit for the Elderly.
The hours are flexible. Volunteers generally serve an average of four to five hours per week. Volunteer programs are open from mid-January through the tax filing deadline, which will be April 15, 2015.
Volunteer Tax Preparation Clinics are scheduled all around our community. You’ll find them in neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, and other convenient locations. United Way's free tax clinics offer free electronic filing for both federal and state tax returns.
Veteran and non-veteran volunteers may be able to help military personnel and their families.
As a volunteer, you become part of a program that has helped people file tax returns at no charge for more than four decades. People helping people. With VITA, you make a difference.
United Way of Greater Stark County's Free Tax Preparation offers the following opportunities:
Intake/Greeter/Scheduler Must complete and pass Certification in Ethics. Greet taxpayer as they arrive for their appointments at each site. Ensure that taxpayers have all necessary documents for their appointments, complete inquiry form.
Tax Preparer Must complete and pass Certification in Ethics and Tax Law, basic and/or advanced level. Prepare taxes and answer questions pertaining to tax related issues for taxpayers.
Quality Reviewer Must complete and pass Certification in Ethics and the Advance Level of Tax Law. To ensure that all tax returns are prepared at the highest quality, quality reviewers will be responsible for double checking returns, answer tax law questions and assist preparer in correcting any mistakes.
All training materials are provided free of charge. You may study and test online or attend classes that will be provided free of charge. When test(s) are completed with an 80% or higher score, you will have certification through the IRS and receive certificate(s). VITA volunteers usually dedicate 20 hours of time.
Thank you to all of our sponsors, without you none of this is possible!
VITA PARTNER SPONSORS: UNITED WAY OF GREATER STARK COUNTY, CARROLL COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY, STARK COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY (MAIN CANTON, EAST CANTON DISTRICT AND SANDY VALLEY DISTRICT ), RODMAN PUBLIC LIBRARY, STARK STATE COLLEGE, WALSH UNIVERSITY, OHIOMEANSJOBS, MASSILLON RECREATION CENTER AND MASSILLON SALVATION ARMY.
VITA PROGRAM SPONSORS: IRS, OHIO ASSOCIATION OF FOODBANKS, PNC AND THE DEUBLE FOUNDATION
VITA PROGRAM SUPPORTED IN-PART: DEMARIO'S PIZZA AND MICHAEL D'S