United Way of Pinal County will again sponsor the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to assist tax payers with free income tax assistance. The assistance will begin on February 1, 2014. This year taxpayers with dependents must have had 2013 income of $46,227 or less, while those with no dependents must have 2013 income of $14,340 or less.
Volunteers are still being recruited for the program. Volunteers must be certified in order to prepare taxes for Pinal County eligible clients. Testing and certification can be done on line. For more information and to volunteer, please call VITA Program Manager Frances Ortiz at 520-836-0736, extension 11.
The following are the current locations and hours of the 2014 VITA sites:
Casa Grande – Seeds of Hope Community Center, 1487 N. Crane St., Casa Grande – Thursdays, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. beginning February 6, 2014. Call Jonathon at 520-222-7534 for appointments.
Casa Grande – The Goodwill Store, 1325 E. Florence Blvd., Casa Grande – Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2:p.m. beginning with the February 1, 2014 VITA Kickoff and EITC Awareness Day. Call Jonathon at 520-222-7534 for appointments.
Coolidge – Coolidge Youth Center, 660 S. Main St., Coolidge, AZ – Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. beginning February 4, 2014. Call Maria at 520-450-7163 for appointment.
Eloy – Eloy Public Library, 1000 N. Main St., Eloy, AZ – By appointment only on Wednesdays 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. beginning February 5, 2014. Call Russ at 520-466-3814 for appointment. In addition, walk-ins only will be assisted on February 8, 15, and 22 from 4 – 7 p.m.
Maricopa – Central Arizona College, 17945 N. Regent Drive, Maricopa, AZ – Wednesdays, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. and Thursdays, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. beginning February 6. Call Viola at 520-413-0434 for appointment.
Gila River Government Center, Southwest corner of Blue Bird and Seed Farm Road, Sacaton.
Monday thru Friday, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. beginning February 3, 2014. Call Frances at 520-836-0736, ext. 11 for directions and appointments.
EITC Awareness Day is a nationwide effort to increase public awareness about the Earned
Income Tax Credit (EITC) and free tax preparation sites. Individuals in Pinal County who work but don’t earn a lot of money may be eligible for free income tax assistance where they can also find out if they qualify for EITC. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) locations provide free tax filing services to help these taxpayers avoid unnecessary fees and receive every dollar back in Earned Income Tax Credit and other tax credits.
The Earned Income Tax Credit is the largest anti-poverty campaign of the U.S. government, lifting millions of families out of poverty since its enactment in 1975. The EITC supplements wages, reduces the recipient’s tax burden, and encourages employment. EITC is for working people who earn less than $51,587, and this year, the credit can be from $2 up to $6,044 and is dependent upon the taxpayer’s individual circumstances.
“The EITC is a valuable but somewhat complicated tax break for workers with modest incomes”, said Frances Ortiz, VITA program manager at United Way of Pinal County. “Many people need, but can’t afford certified assistance to claim it. That is when free tax preparation assistance at VITA sites can be a tremendous saver. The income requirements have been reduced this year, making eligibility available for more people.”
Past IRS estimates were that twenty to twenty-five percent of qualifying taxpayers failed to claim this credit which helps struggling households catch up on utility bills, rent, and to afford car maintenance among other uses. This is especially true in rural communities, for taxpayers that are self employed, and those who qualify without dependent children. Increased VITA awareness efforts which began in 2003 have led to 4 out of 5 eligible taxpayers now taking advantage of the EITC.
People should come to a site prepared with the following items:
• Social Security cards for all persons listed on the return
• Valid driver’s license or photo identification (self & spouse, if applicable)
• All income statements: Forms W-2, 1099, Social Security, Unemployment, or other benefits statements, self-employment records and any documents showing taxes withheld
• Prior year tax return (if available)
• Dependent child care information: payee’s name, address and SSN or TIN if applicable
• Proof of account at financial institution for direct debit or deposit (account and routing numbers)
• Any other pertinent tax documents
• To e-file both spouses must be present to sign the required forms
Area residents should call the United Way office at 520-836-0736 extension 11 for more information on Pinal County VITA sites and to volunteer.
Beverly Prueter, Executive Director of United Way of Pinal County said “The Pinal County VITA program is now in its 7th season, and our goal is to reach over 700 taxpayers in the county to ensure every qualified worker claims and receives their EITC and other credits.
The Pinal County’s VITA program is made possible through an IRS grant sub-contracted to United Way of Pinal County by the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, and by additional funding from United Way of Pinal County.