VITA FAQ

 

VITA stands for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. VITA is a program that provides free tax preparation for households earning up to $66,000 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 $120 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 tax preparation is completely free and saves filers an average of $250 per return.

 

  • VITA tax preparers have completed extensive training and are IRS certified - this certification is not required for paid preparers in the state of Arizona.

 

  • Each completed return undergoes a separate review process to ensure quality and accuracy.

 

  • VITA never offers predatory lending options, such as "instant refunds" or "refund anticipation loans."

 

  • VITA can connect filers to banking services for direct deposit of tax refunds, even for individuals in ChexSystems.

 

  • VITA can connect filers to savings programs, such as SaveYourRefund, to make the most of their refunds.

 

  • VITA can connect filers to healthcare education and enrollment assistance from certified Navigators, at no cost to the filer.

VITA offers three preparation options to fit your needs.

  1. Use free self-preparation software anyplace, at any time, by visiting our Free File page.
  2. Use Valet VITA at any site to have your tax documents scanned and pick up the completed return at a later date or have it sent to you via encrypted email - available at all VITA locations.
  3. Meet with an IRS-certified preparer in person at community sites for same-day tax preparation - available at all VITA locations.

VITA sites are walk-in only. If you have a limited amount of time to wait, consider using Valet VITA or self-preparation.

VITA can handle most returns, including those with self-employment and/or investment income. However, some returns are considered out-of-scope, per IRS regulations. Taxpayers with out-of-scope returns may still be eligible to use free do-it-yourself software.

Returns with any of the following cannot be prepared through VITA:

  • Income/loss from rental property
  • Active military pay
  • Moving expenses
  • Household employees
  • Farm income/loss
  • Credit from forms 4136, 2439, 8839 (adoption credit), 8801, 8885
  • Bankruptcy
  • Affordable Care Act: Parts IV (Shared Policy Allocation) and V (Alternative Calculation for Year of Marriage) of Form 8962
  • The following types of business returns:
    • Business expenses in excess of $25,000
    • Business showing a net loss
    • Employee taxes
    • Depreciation or amortization
    • Inventory at year-end
    • Business using accrual-based accounting
    • Business use of home expenses
    • Prior year disallowed passive activity loss

 

Required:

  • Both spouses, if filing jointly
  • Picture ID for taxpayer (and spouse, if filing jointly)
  • Social security card (or acceptable alternative - see below) for each person listed on the return
  • Proof of income, like W2s and 1099s
  • Documentation of expenses
  • If anyone in the household is insured through the Marketplace, Form 1095-A and dependents' proof of income

Recommended:

  • Account and routing numbers for direct deposit of refunds
  • Prior year tax return

Acceptable Alternatives for Social Security Card:

  • Photocopy or photograph of Social Security card
  • ITIN letter
  • Social Security Benefit Statement (Form 1099-SSA)
  • Military ID with Social Security number
  • Any document issued by the Social Security Administration with Social Security number - last four digits must be visible
  • A print-out from mySocialSecurity with the last four digits of your Social Security number visible

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 7-10 business days.

In 2019, the deadline to file will be April 15.

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. 

United Way is not currently accepting appointments, but appointments can be made with our community partner, Pio Decimo Center.

 

Pio Decimo Center

848 S. 7th Ave

Tucson, AZ 85701

(520) 622-2801 ext. 7118

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:

  • Reporting health coverage, or lack of coverage, for all members of the household
  • Applying for or claiming exemptions from coverage requirements if uninsured and eligible for such exemptions
  • Calculating the Individual Shared Responsibility Payment (often referred to as a penalty) if uninsured and ineligible for exemptions
  • Reconciling Advance Premium Tax Credits (APTC)
  • Claiming Premium Tax Credits (PTC) not claimed in advance

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.

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.

To schedule an appointment with a Navigator for help in completing the Marketplace exemption application, 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. The Tucson IRS Office will take appointments to provide face-to-face services.

 

IRS - Tucson Office

300 W Congress, 85701

(520) 205-5008 - automated assistance

(844) 545-5640 - appointment scheduling

Monday - Friday 8:30AM - 4:30PM

 

Arizona Department of Revenue - Tucson Office

400 W Congress, 85701

8:00AM - 5:00PM