United Way's Free Tax Preparation

2013 Free Tax Preparation Outcomes

As this year's tax season draws to a close, we want to thank everyone involved with United Way's Free Tax Preparation, including our volunteers. View the photos from the End of Tax Season Celebration and Volunteer Recognition »
 
2,124 total Federal and State tax returns completed 
28% increase from last tax year
 
$1,680,018 total refunds 
22% increase in refunds as compared to last tax year
 
$847,068 total tax credits
24% increase in new dollars brought into the community as compared to last tax year
 
1,015.5 total volunteer hours
48% increase in hours volunteered from last tax year
 
 

VITA Free Tax Preparation

United Way is committed to improving financial stability. Part of this includes helping hardworking people obtain free tax preparation, e-filing services and access to financial services and programs. The VITA Program generally offers free tax help to people who make $65,000 or less and need assistance with preparing their tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic and advanced income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals in our local communities. The volunteers inform taxpayers about special tax credits for which they may qualify such as Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled.  Gaining access to the various tax credits helps families and individuals increase their refund amounts, thereby bringing in more money to struggling households and into our local community. This program helps residents receive their fullest tax refunds with no fee involved. Free Tax Preparation (VITA) services operate community-based tax clinics throughout Stark and Carroll counties during the tax season and will be available to assist late filing taxpayers through October.

Free Tax Preparation Through April 12

United Way’s Free Tax Preparation program helps low- to moderate-income taxpayers meet their basic needs and build financial assets as they continue to become financially stable and achieve long term financial independence.

  • Trained volunteers will help you file your taxes–looking for all possible credits–for free in January.
  • File using direct deposit and you’ll have your tax refund in as soon as 7-10 days.
  • You earned it—it belongs in your pocket!

 

Download the flyer »
 

Schedule tax appointment »

"It’s one of the nation’s best kept secrets, but it’s a powerful program that potentially can bring millions back into Greater Stark County–the federal government’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or VITA, program. Through this national program, volunteers are trained and certified by the IRS to offer free tax preparation to..." Read more at Chrisann's blog ».

Schedule your appointment

United Way's Free Tax Preparation has tax clinics scheduled in many convenient places across Stark County. To ensure your tax preparer is available, you must make an appointment. View clinic locations, dates and times » and, after Dec. 14, 2013, schedule your your free tax preparation appointment by calling us at 330-994-VITA (8482).

Phone lines are open:

  • Mondays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Saturdays from 8 a.m. - noon.

Or YOU can file your own taxes for free!

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. Simply click the link, create a secure login & password, prepare your taxes and E-File both your federal and state tax returns. You will be notified by email if your returns were accepted and once accepted it can be directly deposited into you’re checking and or savings account(s) in as little as 7 days. File your own taxes for free » and help yourself to savings!

What is the "Save Your Refund Sweepstakes"?

This year instead of taking your refund as one check or direct deposit into your checking account–consider putting some into a savings and keep some for spending! Read more ».

Volunteers needed

If you’re looking for a way to help our community, then consider becoming a tax volunteer! Read more at Chrisann's blog » or visit the Volunteer Resource Center ».

 

 


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. Do I qualify for the Earn Income Tax Credit (EITC)?

2. Why use United Way’s Free Tax Preparation?

3. Do I qualify for free tax preparation through United Way?

4. Why pay someone or even leave the comfort of your own home?

5. What should I bring to my tax appointment?

6. What is the "Save Your Refund Sweepstakes"?

7. Looking to help our community?


1. Do I qualify for the Earn 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.  

2013 Tax Year Adjusted Gross Income Limits for the Earned Income Tax Credit:
Earned income and Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) must each be less than:

  • $46,227 ($51,567 married filing jointly) with three or more qualifying children – Maximum EITC for 2013 $6,044
  • $43,038 ($48,378 married filing jointly) with two qualifying children – Maximum EITC for 2013 $5,372
  • $37,870 ($43,210 married filing jointly) with one qualifying child – Maximum EITC for 2013 $3,250
  • $14,340 ($19,680 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children – Maximum EITC for 2013 $487

United Way's Free Tax Preparation program offers free tax help to people who make $65,000 or less and 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 or email us at myfreetaxprep@uwstark.org to learn more.

Back to Frequently Asked Questions ».

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 United Way’s Free Tax Preparation?

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!

Back to Frequently Asked Questions ».

3. Do I qualify for free tax preparation through United Way?

Low- to Moderate-Income Limit for 2014 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 $65,000 or less;
  • And for Couples, filing married filing jointly $95,000

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 $10,000.
  • Amended Returns
  • Rental Income and Schedule K

Back to Frequently Asked Questions ».

4. Why pay someone or even leave the comfort of your own home?

Would you feel comfortable preparing your own taxes or preparing them with a little help? It’s February, it’s cold outside, you want to stay in; however, you want to get your taxes done?
 
United Way’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 income of 65,000 or less or if married filing jointly and earned 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 your preparing them, something comes up; that’s ok, you can logout and login 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 you’re 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 330-491-9983 or by email ».

Back to Frequently Asked Questions ».

5. What should I bring to my tax appointment?

Download materials to bring » to your tax appointment.

Back to Frequently Asked Questions ».

6. What is the "Save Your Refund Sweepstakes"?

Instead of taking your refund as a single check or as a direct deposit, this year consider putting some into a savings and keep some for spending!

Purchase a US Savings Bond or put a portion into your savings account and we will assist you in entering the “Save Your Refund Sweepstakes" presented by D2D. When we assist you in preparation of your taxes ask your volunteer preparer to complete form 8888 to split your refund!  

D2D Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping working people save money. Their hope is that weekly prizes and a "Grand Prize" will give tax filers an extra nudge to follow through on savings intentions.  

Qualified savings products include US Savings Bonds, Savings Accounts, and Certificates of Deposit, IRA Treasury Direct or a Prepaid Card.

With the “Save Your Refund Sweepstakes," you can truly save small and win BIG!   

"Save Your Refund Sweepstakes" is made possible by the generous financial support of the Annie E .Casey Foundation, Capital One Investing for Good and other organizations that support D2D’s work to help families build savings! Featured winner names and stories will be posted on their “Winners Page” as they are drawn and verified. For more, visit SaveYourRefund ».

Back to Frequently Asked Questions ».

7. Looking to help our community?

Consider becoming a tax volunteer! United Way is looking for volunteers now who will provide free tax help this upcoming tax season.

United Way's Free Tax Preparation program
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.   

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 12, 2014.
  4. 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.
  5. Veteran and non-veteran volunteers may be able to help military personnel and their families.
  6. 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'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 to correct 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 would only ask 20 hours of volunteer time during January 25, 2014 through April 12, 2014

Volunteer today by contacting Chrisann Leaman, VITA Coordinator, at 330-491-9989 or by email ».

Remember, to ensure your tax preparer is available, you must make an appointment. View clinic locations, dates and times » and, after Dec. 14, 2013, schedule your your free tax preparation appointment by calling us at 330-994-0888.

Return to Frequently Asked Questions » or return to top ».