Volunteers are ready to help you file taxes
MIDDLEBURY — “It is eye opening for these young accounting students to see how little people can earn and stay alive.” Larry Kupferman has been a volunteer for CVOEO’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program for close to ten years now. He was speaking about students from Champlain College, UVM and St. Michaels who volunteer their time completing Federal and State returns for families and individuals with low income.
Larry started volunteering in the 90s when tax preparation was straightforward and done with a pencil, eraser and reams of paper. After taking a break, Larry retuned and now works with a software package that completes the calculations and takes away the assumptions for the preparer. Ask the questions, pay close attention to accuracy, apply a liberal amount of empathy and the computer does the rest, even up to submitting the return for you.
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 inform taxpayers about special tax credits such as Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled.
Kupferman’s passion for this work comes from the knowledge that applying for Earned Income Tax Credit is a foundational way for families to strengthen their own financial goals. He is astounded by the breadth of diversity found in those accessing this program.
Across the state, over 100 Income Tax Assistance volunteers helped 3,544 eligible Vermonters to fill out their income tax forms. There are three sets of eyes on every tax form submitted: the taxpayer, the volunteer preparer and the supervisor of the program.
Last year over 4 million dollars ($4,603,007 to be exact) was returned to the Vermont economy through the VITA Program. CVOEO volunteers and staff helped 1,208 households.
The first step to accessing this service is to call Debbie Goodrich in the Addison Community Action Office at 388-2285 extension 203. Debbie is currently making appointments. 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. In past years 70 percent of the people using this program completed their taxes in less than one hour.
Winston Churchill said, “We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.” Here we hold the handle and carry the bucket. CVOEO offices in Middlebury, Burlington and St. Albans can make paying your taxes or accessing a refund much easier. Earned Income Tax Credit refund and other refunds mean that past bills can be paid and stability is more certain.