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Volunteer Income Tax Assistance help available

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Posted on February 29, 2016 |
By Jan Demers



Paying taxes can be frightening and confusing if you are elderly, a new American or have low income. The truth is paying taxes can be an anxiety-producing experience for anyone, me included. What if I make an error in calculations? What if I pay too much? What if I don’t pay enough?

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program offers free tax help to eligible people who make $54,000 or less and need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to eligible individuals in our communities. They update taxpayers about special tax credits such as Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. VITA sites are located at Community Action Agencies, like CVOEO throughout the state of Vermont.

Travis Poulin, director of CVOEO’s Chittenden Community Action Office, says, “The best thing about tax season at CVOEO is having the ability to address the confusion, fear and trepidation of those needing help with their tax preparation with clarity and truth. Vermont’s Renters Rebate can be intimidating for an elderly person but it is easy and quick for us to do.”

Across the state over 100 Income Tax Assistance volunteers helped 3,575 eligible Vermonters to fill out their income tax forms. This was an increase in applications completed over prior years. Six hundred forty-eight of those people were disabled. There are three sets of eyes on every tax form submitted: the taxpayer, the volunteer preparer and the supervisor of the program.

The statistics are impressive. Last year over $2 million ($2,040,009, to be exact) was returned to the Vermont economy through those who used CVOEO’s VITA program services. CVOEO volunteers and staff helped 1,406 households, benefitting approximately 2,800 people.

The first step to accessing this service is to call Debbie Goodrich in the Addison Community Action office at 388-2285, ext. 211. Debbie is currently making appointments for the month of March.

Information and documentation gathering ensures an accurate income tax submission. When you call to make an appointment Debbie will tell you what to bring and who needs to be present.

Another way to access free tax assistance for anyone earning $62,000 or less is an online service provided through United Way found at MyFreeTaxes.com. This program has support for those speaking English or Spanish. Last year 70 percent of the people using this program completed their taxes in under one hour.

We often wish we could follow the immortal words of Charles Schulz, “Dear IRS, I am writing to you to cancel my subscription. Please remove my name from your mailing list.” CVOEO offices in Middlebury, Burlington and St. Albans can make paying your taxes or accessing a refund much easier. The Earned Income Tax Credit refund and other refunds mean that past bills can be paid and stability is more certain. We are grateful. 

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