Frequently Asked Questions

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 it and receive up to $6,444 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 $6,269.

  • $44,648 ($50,198 married filing jointly) with two qualifying children – Maximum EITC for 2016 is $5,572.

  • $39,296 ($44,846 married filing jointly) with one qualifying child – Maximum EITC for 2016 is $3,373.

  • $14,880 ($20,430 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children – Maximum EITC for 2016 is $506.

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.


Tax Season Smart Tips

  • Why Pay Extra to E-file? E-file (electronic filing) is the simple “push of a button” that sends your tax return to the IRS. In many ways it is the equivalent of sending an e-mail or a text message. Why pay a high cost to have someone push the “send” button?

  • Tell A Friend! VITA sites are America’s best-kept secret. Many folks who qualify for FREE tax preparation spend hundreds of dollars each year for tax return preparation. The money you save could jumpstart that emergency fund, start your homeownership account, pay for that necessary car repair, buy back-to-school gear, etc. What could you do with an extra $300?

  • Split Your Refund! You can split your refund to have a portion of the refund go into your checking account and put as little as $50 into a savings account or purchase a savings bond. You can be registered for the “Save Your Refund Sweepstakes”; weekly drawings for cash prizes and a “Grand Prize” of $25,000 occurring at the end of the tax season! Ask us how.


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 2015 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 at $60,001 to $65,000, click here » 

  • Singles: Income at $60,000 or less, click here » 

  • And for Couples, filing married filing jointly $95,000 or less, click here »

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?
 

  •     Your Federal and State Tax Return Forms from last year (PRIOR YEAR TAX PACKET/RETURN)

  •     YOUR OHIO BENEFIT BANK LOGIN AND PASSWORD, IF APPLICABLE

  •     Proof of identification – Picture ID

  •     Social Security Cards for you, your spouse and dependents or a Social Security Number verification letter

  •     Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) assignment letter for you, your spouse and dependents

  •     Proof of foreign status, if applying for an ITIN

  •     Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents

  •     Wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, 1099-Misc from all employers

  •     Form 1095-A Health insurance marketplace information

  •     Form 1095-B Health coverage information from another source (optional, if provided)

  •     Form 1095-C Health coverage information from another source (optional, if provided)

  •     Interest and dividend statements from banks—Form 1099

  •     Proof of bank account routing numbers and account numbers for Direct Deposit, such as a blank check

  •     Total paid for daycare provider & provider’s Social Security Number or business Employer Identification Number

  •     If married and filing jointly, both spouses must be present

  •     Health Insurance Exemption Certificate, if received


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.

In Stark County Ohio’s three Urban Cities; Alliance, Canton and Massillon, there are a reported 116,526 individuals that qualify for free tax preparation services; of those 69,506 individuals paid a preparer on average $200 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.

Savings Coach Inform the clients of opportunities financial institutions are offering to save their refund. This may include, purchasing savings bonds and opening debit card accounts.

IT Person Will update, set up and tear down laptops and printers at clinics in the area.

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 would only ask 20 hours of volunteer time. 

Volunteer today by contacting Tami Stephens, VITA Coordinator at 330-491-9989 or tami.stephens@uwstark.orgOr complete the online VITA Volunteer Registration Form » to get the process started! 


Thank you to all of our sponsors, without you none of this is possible!

 

VITA program also supported in part by: