With W-2 forms delivered to most employees by Jan. 31, Mountain CAP’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program is gearing up to kick off on Feb. 1 with a Groundhog Day Tax-a-Thon at the Marion location.
According to Andrea Williams, outreach services coordinator, Mountain CAP’s income tax assistance program offers certified volunteer preparation for individuals or households with an adjusted gross income for 2019 of less than $56,000. Those seeking tax prep assistance must be a resident of Bland, Smyth or Wythe counties, the service area of Mountain CAP, and their filing requirements must be within the volunteer’s scope of training.
Once the certified volunteer looks over the client’s information, if it is determined that the return does not fall within the volunteer’s scope of training, the client is referred to a paid tax preparer for assistance, Williams added.
The certified volunteers can complete all federal and state forms, including those that itemize deductions, at no cost to the taxpayer. Williams said that all forms completed by a certified volunteer are reviewed by an additional certified volunteer for accuracy before they are filed electronically with the Internal Revenue Service and the Virginia Department of Taxation.
Mountain CAP offers three options for those needing assistance with their tax form preparation. Taxpayers can utilize the drop-off service, use the Marion site’s computer lab to file electronically with assistance from staff if needed, or use a link on the Mountain CAP website to file electronically from a home computer.
Those who wish to drop off tax filing information in Marion can do so on Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays between the hours of 9-11:30 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. Information can also be dropped off on Feb. 1 during the Tax-a-Thon. Necessary information includes a photo ID for filer and spouse, Social Security cards for filer, spouse and all dependants, all W-2 and 1099 forms, and any other income documents or other documents, such as Form 1095, required to prepare returns and direct deposit information. No deposit slips will be accepted.
When dropping off tax information and documents, taxpayers should allow time to complete initial intake/consent forms.
When tax returns are complete and ready for review and signing, taxpayers will be called to come by the office. When picking up completed forms, allow time for reviewing and signing the returns. For joint returns, both taxpayer and spouse must be present at the time of reviewing and signing.
Taxpayers who wish to electronically file their returns can use Mountain CAP’s computer lab Monday through Friday at the Marion location. Staff will be available to help if assistance is required.
Taxpayers who wish to electronically file from their home computer can go online to www.mountaincap.org and follow the link to a free online product.
Tax information can be dropped off at the Mountain CAP office in Wytheville at 680 West Main Street on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Individuals who wish to complete their own tax returns with assistance can go to the Wytheville Training School and Cultural Center at 410 Franklin Street in Wytheville Monday through Thursday from 2-7 p.m. Tax law questions can be directed to the Wytheville Mountain CAP office at 276-228-5231.
Williams said Mountain CAP filed over 350 tax returns for qualifying taxpayers last year. Using a paid tax service can cost $250 or more, she said.
“We want to save people money and have their taxes done correctly. We want to help people learn how to do taxes themselves,” Williams said.
She encouraged those people who think they don’t make enough money to file to bring their information in. Certified volunteers can check to see if that person could receive a refund even if they didn’t make enough money to be required to file. Volunteers are trained to find credits that taxpayers may qualify for as well.
Tax information that is dropped off is usually completed within a week. Those self-preparing with assistance can usually complete the return in one day. With electronic filing and direct deposit, filers can usually receive any refund due within 10 days.
Williams said volunteers receive online training through the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program of the Internal Revenue Service. Training materials are also provided through VITA.
Mountain CAP is at 602 South Iron Street in Marion. The office serving Wythe and Bland residents is at 680 W. Main Street in Wytheville. For more information, call 276-783-7337, extension 228, and speak with Alice Crockett, outreach coordinator, at the Marion location, or Andrea Williams, outreach coordinator, in Wytheville at 276-228-5231.