What is VITA?
VITA is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. It is a program that offers no cost tax filing services to working individuals and families with household incomes of $55,000 or less.
How does it work?
Before the tax season starts, VITA volunteers have already put in 24 hours each of tax preparation training and certification by the Internal Revenue Service. Last year, over 310 volunteers helped staff 20 VITA sites, at various locations around the community, offering no cost tax filing assistance throughout the tax season.
VITA volunteers are also apart of several events throughout the tax season. Several VITA volunteers will also be spending time at the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians offering no cost tax filing assistance to our Native American community. Other special events include partnerships with Wal-Mart and the One Economy Organization bringing a mobile no cost tax service vehicle to shopping centers, neighborhoods, and community centers throughout Fresno County.
During the 2012 tax season, VITA volunteers prepared 8,172 tax returns for area residents. Over $12.3 million in Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) was also refunded to local taxpayers. The IRS estimates that through the VITA/EITC Volunteer Program, taxpayers in Fresno County saved over $5.6 million in professional tax filing fees. In this economy saving families money and helping them keep every penny of their total refund is essential to building a financially stronger community.
What is Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)?
EITC is a tax credit to help you keep more of what you earned. When EITC exceeds the amount of taxes owed, it results in a tax refund to those who claim and qualify for the credit. To qualify, you must meet certain requirements and file a tax return, even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to file. The VITA Return Preparation AGI threshold amount for tax year 2013, is $55,000. The threshold is based on 2013 EITC AGI limits as shown below:
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
$43,038 ($48,378 married filing jointly) with two qualifying children
$37,870 ($43,210 married filing jointly) with one qualifying child
$14,340 ($19,680 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children
The maximum EITC for 2013:
$6,044 with three or more qualifying children
$5,372 wtih two qualifying children
$3,250 with one qualifying child
$487 with no qualifying children
What to bring with you when filing:
Refer to this LINK to find out what documents you will need to file your taxes.
How do I find out more?
In addition to traditional face-to-face preparation, the IRS is offering a self-assistance service at many VITA and TCE locations. If individuals have a simple tax return and need a little help or do not have access to a computer, they can visit one of the participating tax preparation sites and an IRS-certified volunteer will guide them through the process.
Taxpayers who have questions about the VITA/EITC no-cost tax filing assistance, please dial 2-1-1 or if you would like to speak directly with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regarding your taxes, please call 1-800-829-1040. Additional information can also be found at www.irs.gov .
How do I find a VITA or TCE/AARP site near me?
Check out local VITA sites here . You may also find a site near you between January and April using the VITA locator Tool or call 1-800-906-9887.
A majority of the TCE sites are operated by the AARP Foundation's Tax Aide Program. To locate the nearest TCE site or AARP Tax-Aide site between January and April, use the AARP Site Locator Tool or call 1-888-227-7669.