In the third year, Trinfo.Café will host a VITA clinic (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance). This year, however, customers will have a contactless service with assistance with driving up and down. Trinfo.Café at 1300 Broad Street on the Trinity College Hartford campus has changed its tax preparation support due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The service, which prepares both federal and state income tax returns for free for Hartford residents, will launch on Thursday February 11th, and the IRS filing services will be available on Friday February 12th.
The VITA-Klinik will offer new contactless procedures for submitting tax documents and holding customer meetings by telephone. Customers can make an appointment via www.211ct.org or by calling 2-1-1. Upon arrival, clients confirm that they have the necessary documentation to file their taxes and then hand in the documentation. A voluntary tax advisor from VITA then creates the federal and state tax forms and submits the taxes within seven days of submitting them. In general, VITA serves those who earn less than $ 57,000 a year, people with disabilities, and taxpayers who have limited English speaking.
“We have worked very hard to ensure the continuity of VITA services at Trinfo.Café,” said Serena Laws, Lecturer in Political Science at Trinity and IRS-trained Coordinator at Trinfo VITA Clinic. “This year is a hybrid of personal and virtual services. We want to provide tax services as securely as possible. “
Every year the law students gain practical experience in their course “Tax Policy and Inequality in Hartford” through a training program to become certified VITA volunteers. Then they volunteer at Trinfo.Café with laws that monitor the work done. This semester, 18 students are registered for their course. You will take care of basic tax preparation and get a better feel for tax issues and social inequality. A weekly seminar allows students to learn hands-on training, but also to contextualize what they are doing in the clinic through academic reading and assignments.
In early 2020, VITA Clinic processed 199 returns for a total of $ 448,859 in refunds, despite the clinic’s services being suspended in mid-March due to the pandemic. The previous year, 161 returns were completed during the pilot for a total of $ 224,217 in refunds. Laws hopes that as the clinic and its students continue to build Trinfo’s reputation as a place for free, high quality tax preparation, more customers will become more aware of the services it offers.
In addition to the free tax preparation services, the Trinfo VITA website offers a free printing service for tax returns. With this service, customers whose taxes have been prepared in one of the VITA clinics in the Hartford area can print their returns at Trinfo – a necessary service that is important to many in the community, according to Laws. She said the service helps many customers in the neighborhood avoid the challenge of finding a place to print and potentially exposing themselves to COVID-19 by going to a store.
The opening times of the VITA-Klinik are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays until April 15th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information on VITA in Connecticut, visit www.unitedwayinc.org/myrefund/. Contactless services will also be available for walk-ups and those using public transport.