Mesa-based A New Leaf’s community Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program will be marking VITA Awareness Day with refreshments and outreach to the community to serve more people this week at sites across the Valley.
Hard working families and individual taxpayers sometimes face obstacles in understanding their finances and filing their taxes, and the VITA program connects them to a tax credit that can transform their lives and save hundreds of dollars in paid preparer fees.
VITA Awareness Day is tomorrow, March 15. A New Leaf operates 12 sites in the West Valley and also at the MesaCAN office in downtown Mesa. Community volunteers will be ready to assist tax filers in preparing their taxes free of charge. The volunteers have gone through extensive training by the Internal Revenue Service and have expertise with tax preparation to help low income to moderate income families plan their finances.
“Volunteers help people file their taxes online, so the process is quick,” said Ann Picchione, program manager for VITA at A New Leaf. “People usually get their tax return within a few weeks after filing.”
Filers who earn below $65,000 are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which helps working individuals invest in their future and support their families.
Picchione said the VITA program is using a new software program this year and will have more volunteers on site to assist people with their returns. Those who need assistance with their tax returns need to bring a Social Security card for everyone listed on the tax return. They also need to bring direct deposit bank information, a valid identification, and last year’s return if possible. It is important to bring W-2s and any other tax form to the session.
“This program is a critical component of A New Leaf’s services in the community,” said A New Leaf CEO Michael Hughes. “We are committed to fighting poverty, helping Valley residents succeed in their journey to self-sufficiency. We are so grateful for the dedicated volunteers who help make this program possible every tax season.”
The VITA service runs through Tax Day, which is April 18. To search for the nearest VITA site, visit: https://irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep.