While death and taxes are the only sure things in life, taxes are far more confusing and are an annual event, which is why several local agencies are again offering free tax preparation and advice between now and tax day on April 15.
The United Way of Greater Charlottesville is again joining the University of Virginia’s Madison House CASH Program, several UVa organizations and local government agencies for the 12th annual Cville Tax Aid program to help area residents deal with the ins, outs and roundabouts of state and federal tax laws.
The local partnership will begin its free tax preparation services Monday and continue filling out forms until April 15 at sites in Charlottesville and Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Nelson counties.
“For many, having your taxes done right is a pain and a luxury, but for many local families, it’s a necessity and a vital part of financial health,” said Price Thomas, of the local United Way.
The program offers free tax preparation for most taxpayers with household incomes of $55,000 or less and has prepared more than 22,500 returns with a cumulative economic impact of $37 million for the local community since it began in 2007.
A free self-service option is also available, and can be found at MyFreeTaxes.com. Households with incomes under $66,000 a year qualify to use this online service.
The program is in partnership with the UVa Community Credit Union, Charlottesville Department of Social Services, Piedmont YMCA, Thomas Jefferson Area Planning Commission and the Piedmont Housing Alliance.
The UVa Medical Center and UVa’s Human Resources Department also support the program.
“We are grateful for dedicated partners who are willing to devote significant resources to help provide this service for community members, many of whom struggle to make ends meet,” said Barbara Hutchinson, vice president of community impact for the local United Way. “This is a critically important program and one that can act as a solid foundation for many families as they seek to become more financially stable.”
Also offering free tax preparation is the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide. The organization is offering assistance at The Center, Piedmont Virginia Community College, the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library’s Northside Library branch and at public libraries in Fluvanna and Louisa counties.
Appointments may be made at aarp.org/money/taxes/aarp_taxaide.
The AARP program is open to the general public and especially intended for low- to middle-income people.
For all services, taxpayers should bring Social Security cards or documents showing taxpayer identification, a photo ID, checkbook for direct deposits, the previous year’s tax return, W-2s and 1099s for unemployment, contract employment, interest, dividends, pensions and other forms of income, as well as a summary list of all income and business-related expenses and any charitable contributions.
United Way officials said many Cville Tax Aid clients see tax returns as an important part of their annual income.
Last year, the program assisted an estimated 2,700 people who received nearly $4 million in refunds and credits. This year, the program is expected to help more than 2,800 area residents.
Call the United Way at (434) 972-1703 or go to CvilleTaxAid.org to schedule an appointment or find more information.