The IRS understands that many low income or senior citizen taxpayers cannot afford to pay a tax preparer, so it created the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs. Under these programs, low to moderate income and/or senior citizen taxpayers may obtain free tax assistance and e-filing.
To offer these programs in our local community, the IRS has partnered with the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program of Etowah County (RSVP). RSVP recruits volunteers and locations; and conducts training to provide this service, while the IRS provides the training material and software. Generally, volunteers can prepare straightforward individual tax returns (Form 1040A, Form 1040EZ & Form 1040), state returns, and they also electronically file returns. E-filing is the quickest & safest way to file your return.
“RSVP and the IRS have partnered to offer these programs since 1990 in Etowah and Cherokee County, and we are always trying to bring the program to people who can use this service. Last year 24 RSVP volunteers filed 1,775 federal tax returns that resulted in $1,750,044 in refunds for our clients. All of our volunteers are trained and certified before beginning tax preparation,” said Traci Pondick, RSVP Director.
Now there are three ways that RSVP is bringing this service to area citizens:
1. Walk-ins during the work week at the locations & times listed below.
2. By appointment at the Family Success Center on Saturdays through February Call 1-888-99-TAX-AL for an appointment.
3. Do it yourself from the convenience of your home at www.myfreetaxes.com with free help from certified volunteers at 1-855-698-9435.
The program also ensures that people keep more of their tax return for themselves. Not only can people pay hundreds of dollars just in preparation fees, but some take costly refund anticipation loans which further cut into their income.
This year, RSVP volunteers will be at eight different locations to provide this service:
Etowah County Courthouse, Room 205, 800 Forrest Avenue, Gadsden, Monday – Friday, 11 a.m.- 3 p.m.
Hokes Bluff Water Dept., 5720 Gilliland St., Hokes Bluff, Mondays, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Carnes Recreation Center, 102 Case Ave., Attalla, Tuesdays, 11 a.m – 3 p.m.
Centre Administration Building, 260 Cedar Bluff Rd., Centre, Tuesdays, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Rainbow City Community Center, 3702 Rainbow Dr., Rainbow City, Wednesdays, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Elliott Community Center, 2829 W. Meighan Blvd., Alabama City, Thursdays, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
George Wallace Senior Center, 407 Hollingsworth Park Lane, Glencoe, Wednesdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Walnut Grove Senior Center, 5151 Walnut Grove Road, Walnut Grove, Wednesday Feb. 4, March 4 and April 1, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
No appointment is necessary at any of our locations; everything is done on a first-come, first-served basis. We recommend that taxpayers bring the following information with them: photo ID (driver’s license or non-driver ID), social security cards for anyone listed on the return, birth dates for everyone reported on the return, copy of last year’s tax returns, all information about income (W-2’s, 1099s, information on cash income received), amounts paid for day care and the day care’s identifying number, and a check or checkbook, or some type of printout from your bank with routing number & account number (if choosing direct deposit or direct withdrawal).
For more information, call RSVP at 256-549-8147.