Area nonprofits - with support of IRS VITA program - to offer free tax prep and electronic filing at Goodwill locations in north Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch
SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – Goodwill Manasota has partnered with United Way Suncoast in Sarasota County and Step Up Suncoast in Manatee County to provide free tax preparation services to low- to moderate-income households. Through April 14, volunteers are assisting with free tax preparation at Goodwill’s north Sarasota (5150 N. Tamiami Tr.) and Ranch Lake (8750 E. State Road 70, Bradenton) locations.
Goodwill and its partners are able to offer this service through the Internal Revenue Service’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which offers free tax help to those with annual earnings below $74,000, persons with disabilities, and limited English-speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own returns.
VITA utilizes certified volunteers to help provide free and accurate tax preparation services to low- to moderate-income taxpayers. These services are provided at a variety of public locations such as libraries, schools, and neighborhood centers – such as Goodwill locations – in certain high-need areas. VITA has been instrumental in helping ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) households receive thousands of dollars in additional refunds.
Areas of focus for this year’s VITA program will be the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the expansion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) for the 2021 tax year. The maximum credit amount has increased to $3,000 per qualifying child between the ages of 6-17 and $3,600 per qualifying child under age 6.
VITA tax preparers can prepare returns with credits including the Additional Child Tax Credit, Child and Dependent Care, Education Credits, and Retirement Saver’s Credit. VITA tax preparers cannot complete forms containing: Schedule C with losses, Complicated & Advanced Schedule D (capital gains and losses), Form SS-5 (request for Social Security Number), Form 8606 (non-deductible IRA), Form 8615 (minor’s investment income), or Form SS-8 (determination of worker status for purposes of federal employment taxes and income tax withholding).
“Tax season can be a time of extreme stress for community members, many of whom may not fully understand the tax code or have sufficient access to supportive resources and technology,” said Donn Githens, president of Goodwill Manasota. “The IRS VITA program is a wonderful service; we’re happy to partner with United Way Suncoast and Step Up Suncoast to provide information, resources and expert assistance to help residents file their taxes while ensuring they receive every deduction to which they’re entitled.”
The free tax preparation will be offered by appointment only in Sarasota on Wednesdays and Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; book online via unitedwaysuncoast.org/VITA or by phone at 833-UWS-VITA (833-897-8482). Walk-ins are welcome on Wednesdays at the Ranch Lake location, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Photo ID: VITA volunteer Nathan Reneau assists a community member with her taxes at Goodwill’s north Sarasota location About Goodwill Manasota Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With philanthropic donations and revenue generated by the sales of donated goods, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities, veterans, seniors, and those with other barriers to employment by providing jobs, job skills training, and free career services. For more information or for a listing of locations, visit experiencegoodwill.org or call 941-355-2721.