I haven’t filed taxes in a while…can VITA help me with older tax returns?
Yes. Our VITA volunteers can help you file tax returns for prior years. You will need to bring your tax documents from those years and any letters/correspondence you have had with the IRS.
I think I can file my federal return on my own. Can you help me with just the state return?
Your state income tax return depends on the information in your federal tax return. So, in order to complete your state tax return, we have to create your federal tax return first. Because we can file both returns electronically for you, you will get your refunds faster when we complete both returns at the same time end e-file them together. If you electronically file your federal return on your own, we cannot electronically file your state return.
Do I really need my last year’s tax return?
Yes. If you filed any tax returns last year, we need to know information about any federal and state refunds or payment amounts in order to accurately complete your 2020 return. Because there are special tax rules due to recently passed Covid-relief laws, there may be other information from your 2019 return that we need to prepare your 2020 returns. Your last year’s return will also help us be sure that your tax situation has not changed from last year.
Why do I need social security cards or ITIN verification?
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service requires accurate information about names, social security numbers, and ITINs in order to process your return. We use your social security cards to verify that information so that your return is not rejected and your refund is not delayed.
Should I file my return electronically?
If you file electronically, you will get your refund much faster. Taxpayers who file electronically will generally receive their refunds within three weeks. If you file by mail, it could take 6 to 8 weeks to receive your refund.
Filing your return electronically means that your tax return gets to the IRS more quickly. If you owe taxes to the IRS, electronic filing does not change the time those payments are due. If you have a refund coming to you, electronic filing does not mean that you have to use direct deposit.
The choice of filing electronically or by paper is up to you. The choice of receiving your refund by direct deposit or mail is also up to you. Our volunteers can explain these options and help you in all four situations.
How much will it cost to file my return?
If you are eligible for the VITA program, our volunteers with provide you with free income tax assistance and prepare your federal and state returns for you. Electronic filing is also free at our VITA sites. If you file your return by mail, you will need to pay postage to mail it. Our volunteers will explain these alternatives in more detail to you when they talk to you.
Who is a “qualifying child” for the purposes of the Earned Income Tax Credit?
The Earned Income Tax Credit depends on the number of “qualifying children” that you have.
For for purposes of the Earned Income Tax Credit, the following individuals may be qualifying children:
- Your sons, daughters, stepchildren, grandchildren and adopted children
- Your brothers, sisters, stepbrothers, or stepsisters, and their descendants
- Foster children who are placed with you by an authorized government or private placement agency
“Qualifying children” must live with you, in the U.S., for more than half of the year. They must be younger than you and under age 19 (or under age 24 if they are full-time students). Relatives (as defined above) of any age who have total and permanent disabilities also may be qualifying children. Qualifying children must have valid Social Security numbers.