It’s been a taxing year.
With tax filing season just days away, there is free help for thousands of Connecticut residents.
The IRS starts accepting and processing 2020 returns February 12.
“It doesn’t seem like it gets any easier year to year. It seems like it gets harder,” said Andrew Geisert, a certified public accountant.
Geisert said filing taxes isn’t easy, especially with constant law changes and pandemic circumstances too.
Geisert is one of the many IRS certified & trained volunteers who are ready to help through the “Volunteer Income Tax Assistance” (VITA) programs around the state.
VITA offers free federal and state tax preparation to thousands of Connecticut households who generally make about $57,000 or less per year -- people who are eligible for the earned income tax credit.
“VITA has always been there for people with low income, but this year it’s vital to go to a VITA site because of that, because you might have been experiencing a job loss or decreased wages, so why go and pay for a service you can get for free?,” said Takima Robinson, of the Connecticut Association for Human Services.
The nonprofit runs more than 50 VITA locations.
Last year, they helped more than 17,000 taxpayers get cash back into their pockets without having to open their pocketbooks.
“Bringing in about $32 million in federal and state refunds and credits, but also saving people over $5 million in tax preparation fees,” said Robinson.
While the dozens of VITA sites across Connecticut will run virtually this year, volunteers hope to serve more people from the comfort of their couch.
“They don’t have to worry about finding a babysitter or being at a VITA site for hours,” she said.
And if you have outstanding returns, they can assist with those too.
“We say all the time, the IRS is just waiting, so putting it off is not helping at all. So you’re better off just dealing with it,” said Gesiert.
In the thick of a pandemic, organizers want people to know there is tax help out there.
“Even if, even by chance you might owe, won’t you feel better that you didn’t have to pay for the service? Because if I’m owing then I got to pay money, plus I owe the IRS, so at least maybe we can ease some of that pain,” said Robinson.
To sign-up for VITA services, click here. Individuals who need further assistance can call 2-1-1.
From the website:
BASIC ELIGIBILITY FOR VITA: The VITA program is for households who generally make $57,000 or less, persons with disabilities and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. Also, individuals who are self-employed should have business expenses less than $25,000, and individuals should not have income from a rental property.
They ask you have these documents in order to receive VITA Tax Preparation.