More than half of all taxpayers pay a tax preparer to file their tax return.
Before using a commercial tax preparer, you may want to check out the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) through East Missouri Action Agency. Community Resource Development Specialist Kathy Pool said they can prepare and e-file your taxes for free.
“We have been doing this for over 15 years in all eight counties,” said Pool. “We really help the low income and elderly with this program because they don’t have to pay to have their taxes done. If they do pay to do them they are losing a lot of money and of they are low income there is no point in that. In the past they have still gotten their refund in less than two weeks, but this year the IRS is telling everyone 21 days because of their budget cuts and being less staffed.”
The VITA Program offers free tax help to people whose incomes fall within the guidelines.
Volunteers receive training from the IRS on how to prepare basic returns, and they must pass the IRS Certification Test. East Missouri Action Agency sponsors the VITA program in all of eight of the county outreach offices.
For those who qualify their income has to be under $40,000 for married filers and under $29,000 for single filers to be able to get free tax filing help through the IRS-sponsored VITA program. This program can provide fast electronic tax filing.
“We don’t do appointments, it a walk-in service,” said Pool. “People just stop by, sign in, have a seat and wait to be seen. The first couple weeks are the busiest, so they may sit for a while. That is how it is at all the offices. It normally takes an hour or so to prepare the taxes as well.”
For those who don’t qualify with the EMAA’s income standard, there is another an option online as well to file taxes for free at irs.gov.
The EMAA encourages all elderly and low-income citizens to call the local EMAA Outreach office to find out more details about these free services. The program began Jan. 26 and ends April 15. For more information contact the EMAA at 903 E. Chestnut St. in Desloge or call 573-431-0130.
Items need to have taxes prepared:
• Valid Photo ID for all taxpayers
• Copy of 2014 tax return
• Social Security Cards for you, your spouse, and all dependents listed on the return, and birthdates for all.
• Income documentation including, W-2 Forms from all jobs worked in 2014, all 1099 Forms showing other income received in 2014
• A blank cancelled check for direct deposit of your refund
• Health Insurance Documentation, which includes all letters/notices from Health Insurance Marketplace and/or from Insurance Company to verify coverage for 2014.
• If you qualified for an exemption, you must have the Exemption Number. If you do not know it, you must call the marketplace at l-800-318-2596 to get that number.
• If any of the following apply to your, take documentation with you. Child care expenses, including the provider’s address and federal ID#. Mortgage company statements. Adoption expenses, alimony received.
• Any notices received from the IRS or state tax office. Property tax bills, college tuition and student loan interest statements from college.
• Additional forms of income such as: o Prizes and awards o Scholarships and fellowships o lottery/gambling winnings
EMAA OUTREACH OFFICES
IRON – 573-546-3191
PERRY- 573-547 -2014
ST. FRANCOIS – 573-431-0103
STE GENEVIEVE- 573-883-7252
WASHIINGTON – 573-438-3528
Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or email@example.com