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Free tax preparation for those making less than $57,000 a year

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Posted at 6:30 PM, Feb 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-27 23:28:01-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — If you make less than $57,000 a year, Davenport University will help you prepare your taxes for free.

It’s all part of the federal “Volunteer Income Tax Assistance”, or VITA program, and appointments are now open in Kent and Ottawa counties.

Tax time is fast approaching and April 15th will be here before we know it. Right now, that deadline has not been pushed back.

“And it’s very important this year if you haven’t filed or did not believe you have a filing requirement with COVID and the pandemic tax law changes, there is a higher likelihood that you may want to file this year,” said Scott Gumieny, accounting instructor at Davenport.

Students are volunteering their time to help people prepare their taxes at no cost.

“And they all have to pass a certification exam that’s administered by the IRS and any VITA volunteer throughout the United States takes this certification process in order to be able to prepare taxes,” he said.

Every return then gets reviewed by another instructor or more qualified volunteer. The VITA program helps people receive the tax refunds and credits they deserve and there are important things you need to bring with you if you’d like Davenport to help.

“Photo ID, driver’s license - but passport works as well - the driver’s license can be expired,” said Gumieny, “the IRS did give us an ok on that because of the pandemic and difficulty to get your license renewed last year, and a social security card.”

Volunteers also need your tax forms like 1040s and 1099s if you were unemployed. If you didn’t have taxes deducted from those benefits there’s a chance you may owe. It’s also important to bring your tax documents from 2019, especially with the earned income tax credit.

“The calculation for that changed and we can use your 2019 earned income which is in some cases higher than 2020 with the closures and shutdowns and unemployment income is not earned, so that earned income tax credit calculation is very substantial and we want to maximize that credit,” he said.

All sites are appointment only, walk-ins will not be accepted, and COVID-19 protocols will also be strictly followed.

You can find the closest VITA site by clicking here and putting in your zip code.