5 Steps to a Free Tax Return

January 31, 2018 | Cliff Ehlinger

Do you want to complete and file your federal and state income taxes for free? You can do just that if you qualify for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program!

VITA is a national IRS sponsored program that provides free preparation and filing of federal and state tax returns for families and individuals with household income less than $54,000. During the 2016 tax year, volunteers completed and filed 1,902 federal and 1,727 state tax returns. This saved VITA clients $335,000 in tax preparation fees and helped them claim $3.35 million in federal and state tax refunds.

Get the most out of your tax refund by scheduling your appointment today. When you call 2-1-1 from a landline, or 319-739-4211 from any phone, for a VITA appointment:

  1. First, the 2-1-1 representative will ask your age, zip code, annual income, and if there are veterans in your household.
  2. Then, they will list locations near you and the next available appointment.
  3. Choose a date and time that works for you, and give them your contact information.
  4. Next, they will tell you a list of forms and documents you should bring to your appointment. Please let 2-1-1 know in advance if you cannot make your appointment.
  5. Afterwards, you will receive an email appointment confirmation.

2-1-1 is a health and human services helpline available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your call wait time depends on 2-1-1’s current call volume; while 2-1-1 representatives try to answer calls as quickly as possible, some days have more callers than others.

New this year, VITA also offers locations where you can drop off your materials and pick up your return two weeks later. Taxpayers wishing to use this service must bring ALL tax documentation to the drop off site. VITA will accept drop offs January 30–March 23. View drop off sites at uweci.org/VITA.

If you have any questions or want to learn more about VITA, please contact Cliff Ehlinger at cliff.ehlinger@uweci.org or 319-398-5372 ext. 812.