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  • Three more weeks to get free tax help

    Mar 05, 2020 | Read More News
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    There are three weeks remaining for Southern Arizonans and Pima County employees to get free tax-preparation assistance if they have an annual family income of under $66,000.

    The Valet VITA (Voluntary Income Tax Assistance) program is a partnership between Pima County Community Services, Employment and Training (CSET) and the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona.

    “We always see a spike at the beginning and the end of the VITA season. So now that we are in the middle, this is a perfect time to come in and get your taxes done,” said Bonnie Bazata, who coordinates the VITA program for Pima County.

    “We are seeing more taxpayers this year. We think that is because we have more people returning from prior years as well as word of mouth,” she said. “Both are good signs that we have satisfied users. But it also means that people who have not filed yet should take advantage of the next few weeks while they can.”
    Tax preparation
    The VITA program has served 170 people this year, up from 122 at the same point last year.

    At each weekly VITA location, County staffers will coordinate a “valet” service, designed to allow people to have their tax documents scanned and uploaded to a tax preparer via a secure server. The process runs about 30 minutes for drop-in clients. People who make appointments in advance get through faster.

    Curtis Stokelin, a Pima County workforce development specialist, has used the program in each of its four years.

    “It’s been great,” he said. “It’s been very convenient. It’s simple, short and, of course, you have to love the cost.

    “I have recommended it to my friends, and they have used it as well. It’s just a very convenient and a very good program. I would highly recommend it to anybody who is nervous about doing their own taxes.”

    Clients must bring the following documents:
    • Picture I.D. for taxpayer and spouse
    • Social Security card for EACH family member
    • Proof of income, (W2s, 1099s etc.)
    • Account and routing numbers (for refund direct deposit)
    • Documentation for deductible (e.g. home mortgage interest, real estate taxes)
    • Forms 5498-SA and 1099-SA for Health Savings Accounts
    • Form 1095A for Affordable Care Act.
    Both spouses must be present to sign the paperwork on joint filings.

    Remaining dates and locations:
    • March 10-12 - Abrams Public Health Center • 3950 S. Country Club Rd., second floor • Contact: Monica Robinson, 520-724-2854
    • March17-19 - Nanini Library, 7300 N. Shannon Rd. • Contact: Sharon Yang-McNeil, 520-594-5365
    • March 24-26 - Pima County Youth Employment Center • 340 N. Commerce Park Loop, Tortolita Bldg. Pantano Room • Contact: Sara Lopez Mojarro, 520-724-4727
    Program hours will run 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Wednesdays, noon to 5 p.m. except for the Nanini Branch Library, which plans a 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. schedule on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

    Returns arrive in about two weeks, sometimes faster, via secure email, or may be picked up at the United Way offices, 330 N. Commerce Park Loop, Suite 200.

    Tax and program eligibility questions should be directed to the United Way by phone, 520-903-9000 or online.