The 2020 tax season is officially underway and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program is open to businesses at locations in the Chautauqua County.
VITA offers free preparation of income tax returns for authorized persons. Most individuals who earn less than $ 68,000 per year will qualify as long as they do not have income from sources outside the scope of VITA. Some examples of out-of-scope work include rental income, farm income, and home office expenses. Income reported on a W-2, 1099, or from social security are the most common sources of income for people filing with VITA. To schedule an appointment, call 2-1-1 or 1-888-696-9211.
The VITA program provides IRS training and certification for a group of dedicated volunteers who run the program and complete the returns. Volunteers must review IRS materials, complete online and in-person training, and pass certification exams to participate. This year volunteers will be available for appointments at the United Way Dunkirk office, the Westfield YWCA and the Fredonia Technology Incubator. In addition, remote hours are set weekly for Silver Creek.
United Way has been the largest VITA provider in the region for more than 15 years. During that time, VITA volunteers have received total refunds of more than $ 17,000,000, while averaging about $ 1 million per year.
“The VITA program offers taxpayers in our community an important service.” said Adam Dolce, executive director of the United Way of Northern Chautauqua County. “By providing this service, they can keep the income they worked so hard for and qualify for tax credits like the EITC that can help their families. This income in turn flows completely back into the district of Chautauqua and contributes to the further support of our local economy. “
Numerous precautions have been taken this year due to COVID-19. This includes physical barriers at tax prep locations to ensure distancing, as well as emphasizing the availability of virtual appointments. In the case of virtual returns, the taxpayer has to visit a drop-off point, fill in some of the admission forms. The return is then carried out over the course of a week by a volunteer who works remotely. The virtual return provides the least amount of contact for the taxpayer and the volunteer. The VITA website may be able to assist taxpayers who prefer to file themselves but may need guidance. With the simplified option for self-help, a VITA-authorized taxpayer can access the software with which he can fill out the tax return himself. If you have any questions or need help during the process, you can access the help of the VITA team in the United Way office via email.
When you make an appointment through 2-1-1, taxpayers are asked a few questions to make sure they are ready for their appointment. Taxpayers are required to bring all required documents to the appointment, including W-2, 1099, unemployment declarations, 1095-A ‘and any other information that may affect your return. For that tax year, applicants must also be able to provide evidence of whether or not they received their economic impact payments in 2020 and early 2021. Those who have not received any of these payments will need to fill out a tax return to receive them now if they are eligible.
Northern Chautauqua County’s United Way is located at 626 Central Ave., Dunkirk. More information is available at www.unitedwayncc.org.
Latest news and more in your inbox