2018-02-08 / News

Extension office offers free tax help through VITA prog.

Have you ever heard the say­ing “there is nothing in life free”? However, this is not true in all situ­ations. Some people may not real­ize it, but you can file your taxes for free.

Based on data from the IRS, many taxpayers who claim the earned income tax credit (EITC) pay someone to prepare their tax returns. In 2013, The National Consumer Law Center estimated that taxpayers claiming the EITC paid about $2.3 billion per year to get their taxes prepared and receive their refund fast.

Would you like to avoid paying to have your taxes prepared and keep all of your tax refund? If so, there are free programs available to file your taxes for free. One partic­ular program is the IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, known as VITA.

VITA is a free program that al­lows you to get your taxes prepared and filed for free. The program is coordinated locally by volunteers from one or more community-based organizations. Volunteers are certi­fied by the IRS and must pass an­nual exams to prepare tax returns, and all tax returns go through a quality review process before be­ing submitted to the IRS. VITA volunteer tax preparers are trained and certified by the IRS to prepare many types of tax returns, includ­ing those claiming the EITC and additional child tax credit (CTC).

Regardless of whether your taxes are prepared at a VITA site or by a paid tax preparer, the IRS will de­lay tax refunds that claim the EITC and ACTC, which is the refundable part of the child tax credit, until mid-February. In an effort to re­duce identity thief, legislation was passed to delay refunds that include the EITC and ACTC.

The Lincoln County Extension office will offer VITA during the 2017 tax season. For more infor­mation or to schedule an appoint­ment, please call Christa Campbell at (706) 283-2037 to schedule an appointment.

Available time to make an ap­pointment to drop off tax materials for preparation:

February 20 8:00am-3:00pm

March 20 8:00am-4:00pm

April 10 8:00am-4:00pm

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