Volunteers to assist with tax prep

As 2021 begins, many Americans are thinking about their taxes and what plans they need to put in place this tax season. This process can be confusing for many individuals and can leave them feeling unprepared for Tax Day. Thankfully, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program can help alleviate some of the stress.

VITA is an IRS-sponsored program designed to help low to middle-income individuals prepare and file their taxes. It is primarily geared towards low-income individuals, persons with disabilities, and limited English-speaking individuals. To qualify for this program, one’s gross income must be under $57,000.

The IRS tests and certifies many individuals to become volunteers for the VITA program. These individuals will be the ones on the sites assisting clients with basic tax returns. These volunteers can also process returns with 1099 income, retirement income, student loans, education and childcare credits, business income, Affordable Care healthcare coverage, business income, and capital gains. However, these volunteers cannot assist clients with tobacco settlement or farm income, nor military or clergy. This exclusion is because of the special tax laws in place for these individuals.

The Northwest Regional Library system has been proud to offer this program free of charge for nearly six years. This year will be no different, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Services, however, will be modified so that all processes are as touchless as possible. Masks will be required when coming to the site for an appointment.

The sites that will offer this program are as follows: Elkin Public Library, Yadkin County Public Library, Boonville Public Library, East Bend Public Library, Mount Airy Public Library, and Alleghany County Public Library.

The Boonville Library will offer its VITA tax program beginning Jan. 25 from 9:30 a.m. -1 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays 2 – 7 p.m.

“We are now taking appointments as clients have all their things ready to file. Just call the library 336-367-7737. This year will be doing them virtually as possible to keep everyone safe. The clients will come at their designated time to drop off their documents. The tax preparers will fill them out then call the client back in for review in person or phone review,” said Boonville Branch Librarian Angie Walker.

The East Bend VITA site will be open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. beginning Feb. 6 and running through April 10. Appointments can be made starting on Tuesday, Jan. 19 by calling the East Bend Senior Center at 336-699-5100.

“Our VITA site partners with the Senior Center during tax season with them scheduling the appointments and the library providing the space and computers. It has been a great partnership for us over the years,” said East Bend Branch Librarian Susan Hutchens.

The Elkin Library will offer its services from Jan. 25 to April 7. Clients can schedule appointments on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays to drop off their tax information and sign IRS required forms. A certified volunteer will then prepare the return and contact the client for a telephone conference within a week. The return will be filed electronically. Those interested in completing the program at The Elkin Library can begin scheduling appointments on Jan. 19.

Different sites will have varying procedures concerning making appointments. The dates of this program will also differ between sites. Please contact a local site for more information and a full list of requirements.

Breanna Laws is a student intern at The Tribune and Yadkin Ripple.