Reachin’ Out- Free Help with Taxes

By KAREN KYLE, TRT Contributing Writer

It’s that time of the year. Are you all preparing to file your tax returns?  The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) will be coming to Hoopa twice during the tax season.  VITA will be offering free tax preparation to those whose income is less than $50,000 for tax year 2012.  The VITA program was created by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and is coordinated by the Redwood Community Action Agency (RCAA) out of Eureka, CA.  VITA provides services throughout Humboldt & Del Norte counties. The filing season begins January 22, 2013 and ends April 15, 2013.

The VITA preparers are volunteer workers and are trained IRS-certified tax specialists. The tax specialists will assist you in receiving the best refund possible and will determine your eligibility for Earned Income Credit, Child Tax Credit and Child/Dependent care credits.  If your filing is out of the scope of their training you will be referred to a paid tax preparer; such filings can include: married-filing separate returns, health savings accounts, cancellation of debt, rental income, and certain self-employment deductions.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) will be coming to the Hupa Family Resource Center next month.  The public is welcome to schedule an appointment for February 13, 2013 slots are available 10:00am-2:30pm or March 12, 2013; 10:00am-2:30pm.  For appointments you must call the Humboldt County Switchboard toll free at 877-460-6000 or 707-441-1001.  Anyone interested must have an appointment.

As listed on RCAA’s website listed below is a check list of information you need to bring to your appointment:

State or federally issued photo ID (driver’s license okay).

Social Security card for every person listed on the return.

Dates of birth for every person listed on the return.

Documentation of all income which includes, but is not limited to:  Wages or salary W2’s, retirement income; 1099R, Self-employment or other income; 1099-Misc, Unemployment income; 1099G, Social Security benefits; SSA 1099R, dividend income; 1099-DIV.

Routing and bank account number for checking/savings account if planning on direct deposit (voided check is best).

Copy of last year’s return.

If you paid rent in California, bring your landlord’s name, address, and telephone number.

If you paid for child care, bring providers name, address, and tax id or social security number. Also, bring documentation of expenses paid.

VITA preparers assist through out the county and through out the year for those who are behind; according to RCAA’s website, “So far this tax season, the program has prepared 568 returns and helped bring over $655,000 dollars in total refunds back into the pockets of county residents.”

Once your return has been filed you can check on it by visiting for paper returns you should wait at least four weeks and for electronic returns you should wait at least 24 hours before calling. You will not be able to check on the status of your return unless you have your Social Security number, filing status and the exact amount of your return. The IRS “Where’s my Refund” system opens January 30, 2013. If you don’t have computer access visit your local library or your nearest resource center or call toll free 1-800-829-1040. Individuals with hearing impairments can call 1-800-829-4059 (TDD).
Happy filing.

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