VITA stands for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. VITA is a program that provides free tax preparation for households earning up to $64,000 and helps them access all credits for which they are eligible, including the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Since 2003, VITA has brought back more than $100 million in federal refunds and credits through the VITA Task Force of Arizona.
There are many ways in which VITA differs from paid preparation. We invite you to try VITA and see for yourself!
VITA offers three preparation options to fit your needs.
During the tax season, VITA sites begin opening in late January and close by the filing deadline.
The full site listing and schedule for the 2017 tax season will be posted online in October 2016.
VITA sites are walk-in only. If you have a limited amount of time to wait, consider using Valet VITA or self-preparation.
Acceptable Alternatives for Social Security Card:
Please note: Per IRS regulations, a return cannot be prepared without the required documents.
Valet VITA is a service designed to save taxpayers time. Instead of waiting at a VITA site to meet with a tax preparer, taxpayers can use Valet VITA to have their documents scanned to be prepared within a few days. Taxpayers are then able to leave the VITA site, documents in hand, and go about their day. Once the return is complete, the taxpayers are called to return to the original intake site to pick up a hard copy of their return and sign the consent forms. At select sites, taxpayers have the option of receiving their completed return via encrypted email. Most Valet VITA returns are processed in 5-7 business days.
Taxpayers with $64,000 or less in household income can complete their state and federal returns for free by using software powered by TurboTax or H&R Block. Self-preparation is the most convenient way for taxpayers to access free tax preparation through VITA, as it can be used at any time, from anyplace, at freefile.unitedwaytucson.org.
Filing requirements are based on filing status, age, gross income, sources of income, and dependent status. Take a look at the tables below or visit a VITA site to determine whether or not you're required to file a tax return. Remember, even if you're not required to file a return, there may be reasons you choose to file. For example, you may be entitled to a refund of your withholding or eligible to receive the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Receipt of Advanced Premium Tax Credits through the Health Insurance Marketplace creates a filing requirement, regardless of whether taxpayers would need to file otherwise.
Most People Who Must File:
|Filing Status||Age||Income (minimum)||Self-Employment Income (minimum)|
|Head of Household||Under 65||$13,250||$400|
|Married Filing Jointly||Under 65 (both spouses)||$20,600||$400|
|" "||65+ (one spouse)||$21,850||$400|
|" "||65+ (both spouses)||$23,100||$400|
|Married Filing Separately||Any age||$4,000||$400|
|Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child(ren)||Under 65||$16,600||$400|
Children and Other Dependents:
|Dependent Type||Age||Unearned Income (minimum)||Earned Income (minimum)||Gross Income (larger of)|
|Single||Under 65 (and not blind)||$1,050||$6,300||$1,050 or up to $5,950 earned income + $350|
|" "||Either 65+ or blind||$2,600||$7,850||$2,600 or up to $5,950 earned income + $1,900|
|" "||Both 65+ and blind||$4,150||$9,400||$4,150 or up to $5,950 earned income + $3,450|
|Married||Under 65 (and not blind)||$1,050||$6,300||$5 if spouse filed separate return with itemized deductions or $1,050 or up to $5,950 earned income + $350|
|" "||Either 65+ or blind||$2,300||$7,550||$5 if spouse filed separate return with itemized deductions or $2,300 or up to $5,950 earned income + $1,600|
|" "||Both 65+ and blind||$3,550||$8,800||$5 if spouse filed separate return with itemized deductions or $3,550 or up to $5,950 earned income + $2,850|
In 2017, the deadline to file will be April 18.
We recommend filing your return during the tax season to avoid penalties and late fees; however, help may be available until October 15 for those who need to file late returns, prior year returns or amendments.
To schedule an appointment, call 520-903-3998.
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a tax credit for low income working taxpayers. You must have wages from a job in order to file for this credit, but you do not have to have children. You can qualify for this tax credit based on your annual income and the number of members in your household. If any of the following apply to you, you may qualify for EITC.
This credit can increase your annual income by as much as 50%, so we encourage you to come to a VITA site or use self-preparation software to see if you are eligible.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a federal law signed by the President in 2010. The law expands access to health insurance and creates a requirement to maintain coverage. Beginning in 2015, taxpayers will be responsible for the following during tax time:
When having your taxes prepared, you may need to bring additional documentation to aid in the preparation of your return. If you are uninsured, you may need to pay a penalty if you are not eligible for an exemption. VITA assists taxpayers with all tax time responsibilities related to the Affordable Care Act at no cost.
The ACA Individual Shared Responsibility Payment (ISRP) is often referred to as a "penalty." Taxpayers who were uninsured or have family members who were uninsured in 2016, and who do not qualify for exemptions, will have to pay the penalty.
The penalty is calculated by taking the greater of the following:
Coverage exemptions excuse taxpayers, or members of their household, who were uninsured during the tax year from the Individual Shared Responsibility Payment (or "penalty"). There are two types of exemptions – one is claimed on the tax return, the other is granted through the Marketplace. Exemptions claimed on the tax return do not require an application, but those granted through the Marketplace do.
To view a full list of exemptions, visit irs.gov.
United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona has in-person assisters (Health Insurance Navigators) available to help you and members of your household enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace or the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) at no cost.
For more information, or to schedule an appointment with a United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona Navigator, call (520) 903-3950, or visit the Connector.
Taxpayers with specific questions about their taxes can visit www.irs.gov/help-&-resources, or call or visit the local IRS or Arizona Department or Revenue offices.
IRS - Tucson Office
300 W Congress, 85701
Monday - Friday 8:30AM - 4:30PM
Arizona Department of Revenue - Tucson Office
400 W Congress, 85701
8:00AM - 5:00PM