What is VITA?
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program was established by the U.S. Government to provide free income-tax preparation assistance by IRS-certified volunteers. The free service is available to income-eligible working individuals and families at designated VITA sites. VITA volunteers often help low-income, working taxpayers get the EITC refunds they might otherwise not claim.
What is “Earn It Keep It Save It?”
Launched in early 2008, “Earn It Keep It Save It,” is a United Way of Southern Nevada community collaborative comprised of local public and private organizations in partnership with the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) office of Stakeholder Partnerships, Education, and Communication (SPEC).
“Earn It Keep It Save It” partners promote awareness about the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and provide free tax preparation assistance and e-filing, delivered by IRS-certified volunteers to income-eligible recipients at multiple locations throughout Southern Nevada.
What is the difference between EKS free tax sites and a commercial paid preparer?
Having your taxes prepared at an Earn It! Keep It! Save It! tax site is free! At a commercial paid preparer, a taxpayer can pay up to $300 (or more) in tax preparation and loan fees. These fees come out of your refund. You will still have your return prepared correctly by a trained and certified volunteer if you come to an EKS site. Our volunteers go through extensive training with materials provided by the IRS. Training includes how to ensure all tax returns are prepared accurately.
What is EITC?
The EITC is a tax benefit for people who work, but do not earn high incomes. Those who qualify can reduce their federal tax liability, potentially receiving a refund. To qualify, taxpayers must meet certain requirements and file a tax return, even if they were not required to file a tax return.
How much can the EITC be worth?
Depending on filing status and dependents, a taxpayer can earn up to $51,000 in 2012 Tax Year to qualify for an EITC refund. EITC amounts can be as high as $5,891 for the 2012 Tax Year/2013 Filing Season. EITC is retroactive for 3 years, which means if you are eligible, you can claim up to three (3) prior years of unclaimed EITC. Last year, VITA/EITC brought millions of EITC dollars back to Southern Nevada’s economy – and to the people who needed it most.
Who can claim the EITC?
To claim the EITC on your tax return, you must meet all of the following requirements:
- Must have a valid Social Security Number
- You must have earned income from employment or from self-employment
- Your filing status cannot be married, filing separately
- You must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien all year, or a non-resident alien married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien and filing a joint return
- You cannot be a qualifying child of another person
- If you do not have a qualifying child, you must:
- be age 25 but under 65 at the end of the year,
- live in the United States for more than half the year, and
- not qualify as a dependent of another person.
What is the Child Tax Credit?
The Child Tax Credit (CTC) can reduce the amount of Federal income tax owed by up to $1,000 per child. If the tax has already been taken out through employer withholding, the taxpayer can get a larger refund with CTC. If the tax has NOT been taken out and is owed to the IRS, the CTC can mean the taxpayer has less tax to pay – or the tax might be completely eliminated.
How can I access volunteer income tax preparation and the earned income tax credits (refunds) I may be eligible for?
Dial 2-1-1, or visit www.nevada211.org, to find the VITA/EITC site nearest you. The 2-1-1 operators and website have additional information.
Do I need a Social Security Number, or be a U.S. citizen or resident alien, to receive Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)?
No. The rules are different for receiving tax-preparation assistance. In fact, VITA preparers can help you if you have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), thus allowing you to pay taxes just like millions of other taxpayers.
Do I need to have children, or owe taxes, to benefit from VITA/EITC?
No. If you have no children, you may still be eligible. If you do not owe taxes, you may still be eligible for an EITC refund.
How fast can I get my tax refund?
If you file your return electronically (e-file) at one of our free tax sites and have your refund directly deposited into your bank account, you can receive your refund in 7 to 10 days. You will need your bank account number and routing number. Be sure to bring a voided check with you!
FOR ORGANIZATIONS, BUSINESSES, AND EMPLOYERS
How do I become an "Earn It Keep It Save It" partner?
Decide which partnership activity is right for your company:
- Spreading the word
- Recruiting employees to volunteer
- Hosting a VITA site
- Sponsoring the “Earn It Keep It Save It” effort
How can I help spread the word?
Share information with your staff, volunteers, family members, friends, clients, and colleagues at other organizations about the VITA sites. Posters are available for your location(s) and flyers for you to share with employees and clients.
By spreading the word, you’re helping all of the people in your networks that could benefit from the VITA services and the tax credits.
What else can I do to help?
Other ways your organization can help, include:
- Recruit volunteers from within your organization
- Refer families and workers who may be eligible, to Nevada 2-1-1 to locate the nearest VITA site
- Host a VITA site at your location(s)
How does my organization benefit as an "Earn It Keep It Save It" partner?
- VITA/EITC assistance will help your staff and volunteers stretch their paychecks through FREE tax assistance and possible tax credit refunds
- Tax assistance and tax credit refunds also will help your clients stretch their paychecks; your involvement will showcase your goodwill and increase customer loyalty.
- Tax credit refunds bring millions of dollars back to our community, impacting a wide range of people and organizations.
- Hosting a VITA site also brings foot traffic and potential new clients.
- You’ll gain visibility as an "Earn It Keep It Save It" partner and a community leader helping to deliver viable solutions to our community.
How does I create a user account?
The Site Coordinator at the site that you are interested in volunteering in will be able to help you with the creating of account process. For more information about locations and Site Coordinator contact information, please contact Paulina at 702-892-2334.