Volunteers Ready to Assist Residents Who Made $51,000 or Less in 2012 with Free Tax Preparation
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites open in Yellowstone County January 25
Billings, MT, January 21, 2013: Basic tax preparations and e-filing for people who made $51,000 or less during 2012 is being offered free of charge through the IRS sponsored VITA program at six different locations throughout Yellowstone County from January 25 to April 13, 2013. Community organizations collaborating in this effort include HRDC Community Action Agency, United Way of Yellowstone County, Wal-Mart, Montana State University-Billings, local credit unions and Parmly Billings Library.
“VITA’s (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) mission is to help people get all the refunds and tax credits they legally qualify for,” said Kaycee Foran, Financial Stability Coordinator for United Way of Yellowstone County. “VITA helps working families make ends meet by saving them tax preparation fees and helping them capture refunds, credits and other tax benefits. This is a financial boost for working people in a recovering economy and allows more funds to flow within our community. It’s money that can make lives a little easier.”
In 2012, VITA helped file returns for nearly 2,075 local taxpayers, saving them an estimated total of $3,098,445.50 in overpayments, credits and tax preparation fee savings. Additionally, many VITA clients received refunds that not only boosted their individual incomes but the community’s bottom line, according to Foran. In 2013, VITA hopes to help over 2,000 clients in the Billings area.
“Clients come back year after year not just to get their taxes prepared for free, but because they trust and appreciate the excellent service of our volunteers to give each client full attention and an opportunity to file an accurate return,” said Hanna Pancheau, VITA Program Manager at HRDC Community Action Agency.
VITA volunteers are specially trained to help eligible residents receive all the credits and deductions for which they qualify.
Millions of workers could overlook a special federal tax credit because they don’t know about it. As a result, they could miss out on up to $5,751 extra in their federal tax refunds through the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC. Last year on average, the credit boosted refunds for eligible workers by $2,100, according to an IRS news release.
Over 70 IRS trained and certified volunteers from the community will help with the VITA program, according to Foran. The Internal Revenue Service sponsors and supervises the VITA program.
All six free tax sites will offer return preparation and e-filing through either the IRS’s VITA or Tax Counseling for Elderly (TCE) programs. Walk-in clients are accepted at HRDC Community Action Agency, Parmly Billings Library and Garfield Community Center. Appointments are offered at HRDC Community Action Agency, Altana Federal Credit Union, SEG Federal Credit Union in Laurel, AARP Tax Aide/ TCE and Altana Federal Credit Union in Red Lodge.
Temporary VITA sites will also be available in Lockwood and Hardin. Call 254-9760 for recorded information on all sites or visit www.montanafreefile.org or www.facebook.com/unitedwayyellowstone or www.unitedwayyellowstone.org .
Qualified participants should bring the following documents to their appointments:
• Photo proof of identification
• Social Security Card for you, your spouse, and all dependents
• Birth dates for all persons listed on the tax return
• Wage and earning statement(s) Forms W-2, W-2G, and 1099-R, from all employers
• Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
• Amounts paid for day care, if applicable, and the day care provider’s identifying number
• A copy of last year’s federal and state returns, if available
• Documents (such as a personal check) showing your bank routing number and account number for direct deposit.
• Both spouses must be present if filing jointly
Locations and Information on free tax preparation and e-filing sites:
Altana Federal Credit Union, 3212 Central Avenue, Appointment only: (406) 651-2333, February 4-April 12, 2013
SEG Federal Credit Union, 617 SE 4th St., Laurel, Appointment only: (406) 628-7711, February 1-April 12, 2013
AARP Tax Aide/TCE, 1505 Ave. D, Appointment only: (406) 794-0083, Feb. 1-April 11, 2013
HRDC Community Action Agency, 7 North 31st Street. (lower level), Walk in or by Appointment: (406) 247-4710, January 25-April 13, 2013
United Way/Parmly Billings Library, 510 N. 28th (Broadway), Walk-in only, Saturdays 12:00-3:00 p.m., Jan. 26-April 13, 2013
United Way/MSU-Billings Garfield Community Center, 3212 1st Ave. S., Walk-in only: Mondays 5:30-7:30 p.m. January 28-April 8, 2013
VITA will have temporary sites in Lockwood and Hardin during the tax season, call (406) 254-9760 for more information on dates and times.
For more information or story ideas contact: Gayle L. Whittenberg, Director of Development at 252-3839, Ext. 32 or by cell phone at 698-9623.