Tax season is approaching, VITA to offer free tax help during pandemic

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Tax season is right around the corner.

That’s why preparers with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program are getting ready to assist those throughout the community.

Along with getting ready for tax season with COVID measures, officials with VITA said there are some new tax laws to get used to as well.

Feb. 12 is the first day to file taxes in 2021.

For taxpayers that make less than $64,000, they can receive free tax preparation from Volunteers like Innes Norman and Daniel Nguyen through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

“There is a need for volunteers so I wanted to take the opportunity to be able to give back since they had provided for me,” Norman said.

VITA Program Director Genevieve Anderson said the program has lost volunteers to the pandemic and class sizes are down.

“It seemed to be a good investment that would be quite rewarding,” Nguyen said. “The numbers portion of taxes wasn’t a determining factor. It’s most likely the people that I get to interact with.”

Along with battling COVID, Anderson said new tax laws make this tax season very different.

“You have to file your 2020 taxes to get your stimulus payment. When you’re on your tax return, it’s not going to say stimulus payment,” Anderson said. “It’s gonna say economic recovery rebate credit.

There is also a change in how earned income credit is filed.

“It allows us to go back to your 2019 tax return, take your earned income credit from there, and put it on 2020 if that would give you a better refund,” Anderson said.

With the pandemic causing record numbers of unemployment and tax season being cut down to two months, Anderson said getting taxes filed on time is a high priority.

“That’s why we, and a lot of other businesses, are opening their doors early to try and get people through the system, get everything ready to go. As soon as the IRS opens up that flood gate, we can hit the send button and it’ll be good to go,” Anderson said.

Anderson said to file taxes early but don’t expect a return until March as tax season gets underway during the pandemic.

The last day is April 15.

For more information on VITA, click here.

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