February 7, 2014

United Way tax site is now open to use

The Oskaloosa Herald

---- — OSKALOOSA – The 2014 tax season is quickly approaching, and United Way of Mahaska County is announcing that VITA is up, running and open to people who meet the qualifications.

United Way is currently looking for individuals interested in becoming IRS Certified VITA Volunteer Preparers. Julie Hyland, the VITA Site Coordinator, says: “More volunteers mean we can help more people.”

Tax preparation assistance will be offered beginning in February and continue into mid-April, and assistance will be by appointment only. To make an appointment or to volunteer, contact Hyland at (641) 672-1169. Site hours are typically on Saturdays and select weeknights, but will vary depending on volunteer availability.

A free online course and certification is offered to all volunteers, and no formal education is required. United Way staff member Julie Hyland, who oversees the VITA Tax Site program, will provide prospective volunteers with training workbooks and additional information. Everything is done online, including an online course and a certification test that can be taken up to two times. Anyone interested in becoming an IRS Certified VITA Volunteer Preparer or receptionist needs to contact Hyland at (641) 672-1169 as soon as possible.

The VITA Tax Site is an opportunity for low- to middle-income families (annual income of $50,000 or less) to have their taxes filed by a certified preparer, free of charge. When the program begins, families requiring the VITA Tax Site services will need to set up an appointment. The VITA Tax Site program is BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. To make an appointment or to volunteer, contact Hyland at (641) 672-1169.

In 2013, volunteers helped return $252,344 to local taxpayers in Mahaska County through state and federal tax refunds and credits, including $141,703 in Earned Income Tax Credits. The EITC is a federal anti-poverty measure for lower-income working individuals that lower their taxes or grant refunds through a tax return. The average taxpayers’ income was under $11,000 per year, and the average total refund received was $1,728.