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Federal program helps low-, moderate-income Hoosiers with tax preparation

The top corner of a form. It says, "Page 1. Employee Reference Copy. W-2 Wage and Tax Statement"
Lauren Chapman
IPB News
The Internal Revenue Services’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program includes sites nationwide with certified tax preparers to assist in filing taxes.

How can low- to moderate-income Hoosier taxpayers receive assistance in filing their taxes? Several members of our audience inspired this question. The Internal Revenue Services’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program includes sites nationwide with certified tax preparers to assist in filing taxes.

Carla James is the project coordinator for the Marion County VITA program. She said the program has many benefits for those who qualify.

“If you make $66,000 or less, we can typically assist you with tax preparation,” she said. “We do federal and state tax returns. We also do some prior year tax returns as well. And our target population again is low to moderate, also seniors and those who received the earned income tax credit.”

James said there are three steps to the tax program. Hoosiers are first screened to see if they are eligible.

“The next stage is tax preparation, where one of our certified volunteers will prepare the tax return,” she said. “And then the third stage is a quality review, where a separate volunteer will review that tax return with the taxpayer, answer any questions they have.”

READ MORE: Income tax changes coming in 2024 for Indiana citizens, military service members

She said these program sites also include other benefits for those who qualify, including other financial resources.

“We have the low-income taxpayer clinics,” James said. “Those are attorneys who can assist with tax and legal matters. We also have access to the Taxpayer Advocate Services, which is an independent arm of the IRS that helps resolve matters when the taxpayers are not able to resolve it directly with the IRS.”

She said financial and credit coaching from institutions such as Huntington Bank or KeyBank may also be available at these locations.

To find a tax preparation site, James said the United Way of Central Indiana’s Indy Free Tax Prep website has information on how to contact individual sites and schedule appointments online. Hoosiers outside of central Indiana can find services through the IRS’s website.

To receive faster assistance, she encourages Hoosiers to apply for these services soon, and to look online at which documents are required for tax filing before coming into these sites.

Violet is our daily news reporter. Contact her at vcomberwilen@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @ComberWilen.

Copyright 2024 IPB News.

Violet Comber-Wilen

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