If the thought of filling out a 1040 fills you with fear or makes your head spin, there is hope: volunteers with the IRS are offering free tax-preparation help through the agency's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.
It's available to those making $51,000 or less per year, according to the IRS.
“This program provides free tax preparation to individuals and families who may not be able to afford a tax preparer," California Board of Equalization Member George Runner stated in a press release. "Connecting low-income earners with the Earned Income Tax Credit provides them with valuable support during difficult economic times and boosts our state and local economy."
Here are some locations in the area where residents can find VITA help:LocationDatesHoursLanguagesAppointment Needed?
North County Lifeline-Financial Opportunity Center
1210 Division St., OceansideFeb. 1-May 11 Fri. and Sat. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. English, Spanish
North County Lifeline
707 Oceanside Blvd., OceansideJan. 31-April 20 Tues. and Thurs. 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sat. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. English, Spanish
North County Lifeline-Vista
200 Michigan Ave., VistaJan. 20-May 11 Wed. 1:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Fri. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sat. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. English, Spanish No
Here's a list of items to bring, courtesy of the IRS:
- Proof of identification – Picture ID
- Social Security Cards for you, your spouse and dependents or a Social Security Number verification letter issued by the Social Security Administration or
- Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) assignment letter for you, your spouse and dependents
- Proof of foreign status, if applying for an ITIN
- Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents on the tax return
- Wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, 1099-Misc from all employers
- Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
- A copy of last year’s federal and state returns if available
- Proof of bank account routing numbers and account numbers for Direct Deposit, such as a blank check
- Total paid for daycare provider and the daycare provider's tax identifying number (the provider's Social Security Number or the provider's business Employer Identification Number) if appropriate
- To file taxes electronically on a married-filing-joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.
Have you received help from the VITA program in the past? Tell us what you thought of it in the comments section below.