If you meet certain criteria, a local, volunteer Tax Preparer will electronically file your state and federal income taxes for free.
To take advantage of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program individuals must:
- have a low-to-moderate annual income, or
- have a disability, or
- be a non-English speaking taxpayer, or
- be eligible for an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), available to those who worked and earned income under certain limits, based upon their filing status, or
- be part of the United States (U.S.) military
You may also participate in the program if you earn less than $55,000 a-year, according to the organization’s website at www.vitasa.org.
In 1971, the VITA program began when a California college professor wanted to help some of his accounting students get hands-on experience preparing income taxes. The professor asked local taxpayers to let his pupils prepare their returns; in exchange, he agreed not to charge them for the service. Years later, the students’ efforts snowballed and transformed into this nationwide program.
To find out whether you qualify for VITA and locate a volunteer tax preparer in your area, visit the organization’s website or call 1.800.906.9887.
If you are in-between jobs and have a background in accounting, mathematics, or a general interest in learning about income tax preparation, volunteering for the VITA program may be a good skill to add to your résumé.
You’ll have to attend training sessions, sponsored by the IRS, and take an online test, but once you pass you’ll receive a Certificate of Recognition and Letter of Appreciation from the IRS, which you can add to your résumé.
Once certified, you will be required to work a minimum of 40 hours, from late-January to mid-April, at a VITA site near you. To find out more about volunteering for VITA visit their website at www.vitasa.org.
To volunteer for VITA, in Somerset County, visit the county’s Office of Volunteer Services & Volunteer Opportunities at www.co.somerset.nj.us/somerset_county_office_of_volun.html or call the Volunteer Services Coordinator, Bill Crosby, at 908.704.6358 or send an email to Crosby@somerset.nj.us.
Offered through Somerset County’s United Way, in partnership with the Emanuel Community Development Corporation, IRS-trained VITA volunteers will provide free income tax assistance at the following locations in central New Jersey.
|Bernardsville Public Library||(908) 766-0118|
|Bernard’s Township Library (Basking Ridge)||(908) 204-3031, extension 2|
|Bound Brook Presbyterian Church||(732) 356-3575|
|Bridgewater Commons Mall||(908) 218-1166|
|Bridgewater Senior Center||(908) 541-5710|
|Congregational Church of Bound Brook||908) 253-6537|
|Franklin Township Library (Somerset)||(908) 541-5710|
|Green Brook Municipal Building||(908) 541-5710|
|Hillsborough Public Library||(908) 541-5710|
|Manville Public Library||(908) 541-5710|
|Raritan Alternatives, Inc. (for English/Spanish tax payers)||(908) 253-6537|
|Raritan Valley Community College (Branchburg)||(908) 253-6537|
|Somerset United Way office (Bridgewater)||(908) 253-6537|
|Wal-Mart (Watchung)||(908) 756-1925|
|Warrenbrook Park Nutrition Site (Warren)||(908) 541-5710|
|Washington School (Raritan Borough)||(908) 541-5710|
Tax Preparers will file all returns electronically and keep all information confidential. For more details about Somerset County’s VITA program, call Irene Natale at 908.253.6511 or contact her at Irene.email@example.com.
Did you know you could deduct the cost of diet food from your state and federal income taxes?
As part of your medical/dental deductions, the IRS allows you deduct such food along with payments for a weight loss program, for a specific disease or diseases, including obesity, diagnosed by a physician. You can also deduct the cost of your annual health club dues.
Of course, you have to have the appropriate receipts. A good way to obtain individual receipts for your diet food purchases is to ask the cashier to wring up a separate receipt each time you buy them.