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  • County teams with United Way to offer tax assistance

    Jan 18, 2018 | Read More News
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    There's still time to get your taxes done, for free, if you family income is below $66,000.

    Pima County is again teaming with United Way to offer free tax-preparation assistance.

     
    The Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program enables taxpayers to bring in their documents, which are reviewed, scanned, and uploaded to a secure server. It usually takes about 20 minutes.  Seven to 10 days later (sometimes faster), the return is securely emailed or can be picked up at a VITA site.
    Tax preparation 
    Sessions have been offered at eight rotating locations. (See schedule below.) No appointments necessary and it’s first-come, first- served.
     
    For the last two years, the county’s Community Services, Employment and Training Department offered the assistance to County employees, family and friends, as well as clients and the general public.  “Every year we’ve expanded and this year we hope to reach even more taxpayers,” said Bonnie Bazata, who directs the county’s Ending Poverty Now Program.

    “Taxes can be a headache and time-consuming,” Bazata said. “The United Way’s Valet VITA program simplifies the process while providing the highest quality service – for free. For low-income families, using VITA means avoiding financial predators, ensuring they qualify for important tax credits, and keeping all of their tax return. That is a poverty-busting formula.”
     
    Taxpayers must bring: 
    Picture I.D. for taxpayer and spouse. Both spouses must be present to sign documents! Social Security card for EACH family member

    Proof of income, including W2s and 1099s

    Picture I.D. for taxpayer and spouse. Both spouses must be present to sign documents! Social Security card for EACH family member

    • Picture ID for taxpayer and spouse. Both spouses must be present to sign documents! Social Security card for EACH family member.
    • Proof of income, including W2s and 1099s
    • Account and routing numbers for direct deposit of refunds 
    • Documentation for deductible expenses such as home mortgage interest or real estate taxes. 
    • Forms 5498-SA and 1099-SA for Health Savings Accounts and 1095A for Affordable Care Act. 
    Taxpayers without the required documents cannot be assisted. 
     
    Erin Sol, a program specialist with Pima County’s Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation Department, found the process helpful and easy. 

    “We went through my return step by step, including my Itemized Deductions, and I didn’t find any errors. I would definitely recommend the service! Filing taxes can be confusing, especially with the yearly changes to tax law, so it was a relief to know I was getting expert help.”

    Todd Harriman with Pima County’s Adult Probation Department, agreed. 

    “I didn't want to pay the outrageous prices places charge to do them,” he said. “I found it pretty easy. I am definitely going to use them again and would recommend it to everyone."

    Remaining dates and locations of events, as well as direct links to schedule an appointment, are below:  Every week, the hours will be the same: Tuesdays - 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesdays - Noon to 5 p.m., and Thursdays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

    Check eligibility at United Way's tax site. Direct questions to Bonnie Bazata, bonnie.bazata@pima.gov, 724-3704.

    “We are excited to partner and bring this program to more of our employees and to the people we serve,” Bazata said. County departments that would like posters or flyers to post in their offices should contact Bazata.