Hard-working West Valley residents with an eye on increasing their financial stability in the New Year can turn to Valley of the Sun United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites for free tax assistance. VITA sites are available only during tax season and are staffed by volunteers, who are trained to IRS standards, to provide free tax preparation for low to moderate income households and help families, individuals with disabilities, senior citizens and military personnel.
The VITA sites not only offer free assistance, trained volunteers help taxpayers apply for important tax credits they may be eligible for but may be unaware of, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit or EITC. Families and individuals who earned up to $52,000 in 2013 can could qualify for up to $6,000 in EITC.
VITA sites are available now through April 15, with varying hours and days at each location. All sites accept walk-ins.
“United Way worked with partners from non-profits, business, faith-based and education sectors to host 10 VITA sites in the West Valley this year to help more eligible taxpayers transform their lives,” said Charlie Boyce, Valley of the Sun United Way’s Vice President of Community Impact.
In 2013, community members reported they used their tax refunds to take steps to become more financially independent. They paid for vital bills such as food, housing and utilities and for long-term financial stability goals such as starting savings accounts and paying down debt.
“Connecting eligible hard-working taxpayers to the EITC through VITA sites will increase the financial stability of many individuals and families. It will also provide the local economy a boost as their refunds are invested back into our community,” he added.
Last year, VITA volunteers helped about 1,340 taxpayers in filing tax returns which connected them to nearly $2 million in refunds they were due. To check Earned Income Tax Credit eligibility, go to www.irs.gov. For a full list of local VITA sites, contact 211 or visit vsuw.org/VITA.
To help accurately determine EITC eligibility and prepare tax returns, taxpayers should bring the following items with them to the VITA sites:
To electronically file their returns and get the fastest refunds, both spouses must be present to sign joint returns.