VITA Can Help You File Your Taxes for Free and Keep The Money You've Earned
Updated Dec. 23, 2016
Why pay to file your taxes when you can file for FREE? Using VITA, you can keep the money you’ve earned.
What is VITA?
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to individuals who file simple returns and generally make $54,000 a year or less. The program is also available to persons with disabilities and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals throughout the County of Los Angeles. This program is sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
Why should I use VITA?
- When you use VITA, you’ll save hundreds of dollars without sacrificing quality.
- According to experts from the Corporation for Enterprise Development, the VITA program has a tax return accuracy rate of 94% and a far lower error rate than many self- and paid-tax preparation services.
- It’s as easy as making an appointment! Our staff will guide you through the process.
- Our IRS-certified tax preparers will see if you are eligible to claim refundable tax credits, such as:
Earned Income Tax Credits: You may qualify for a refundable federal and/or state income tax credit. These cash-back tax credits* give back money to low to moderate income working individuals and families. Eligibility and amounts for cash-back tax credits depend on your income, household size, filing status and residency. To determine if you qualify and get more information about EITCs by visiting the IRS and CalEITC4me websites.
Child Tax credit: This credit is worth up to $1,000 per qualifying child dependent on your income. Click here to get more information on whether you are eligible.
Remember, you can only claim a tax credit if you file a tax return. We can help you file for FREE!
*Note: The sum of the filer’s tax credits must be greater than the amount of the income tax they owe in order to receive a “cash-back” refund (payable to the filer).
How do I schedule a VITA appointment?
- Coming soon: Find a County of Los Angeles VITA site and make an online appointment.
- Call (800) 593-8222 to speak to a representative to get more information or to schedule an appointment.
How can I find out if I qualify for VITA?
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program offers free income tax preparation/assistance to taxpayers whose gross income is $54,000 a year or less. Call DCBA at (800) 593-8222 to see if you qualify.
Does your tax return include any of the following?
- Amended tax returns
- Applications for Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN)
- More than five capital gain/loss transactions (i.e., sale of stock).
- Rental income.
- Income from a partnership or trust.
- Depreciation related to business income.
- Returns for taxpayers who will be using "Married Filing Separate" status.
If so, DCBA may refer you to a more appropriate organization or service to complete your tax return. For more information, call DCBA at (800) 593-8222 or click here.
Tax Preparation Checklist
- Eligible taxpayers meeting the program requirements should bring the following items when applicable:
- Identification: Photo ID, Social Security cards or ITIN letters for you, your spouse, and your dependents.
- Income: W-2s and 1099's and total cash income for all taxpayers
- Health Insurance: Proof of healthcare coverage on Form 1095: Medi-Cal or MediCare, your employer, or Covered CA
- Childcare expenses: name, address, Tax ID or Social Security Number of the child care provider.
- College: loans and/or scholarships received, and bills any higher education (Forms 1098-T/1098-E are required).
- Charitable donations: list of contributions and amounts, receipts for contributions over $250.
- Renters: Name and phone number of your landlord, property management, or building supervisor.
- Homeowners: mortgage interest statement (Form 1098), real estate taxes paid, Statement of Property Tax Paid in 2016
- Bank account numbers: a voided check with routing and bank account numbers for your refund.
- Last year’s tax return.
File your own taxes for at no cost.
The IRS “Free File” program offers free tax prep software to file your own return if you earn $64,000 a year or less.
If you make $64,000 or more, you can receive free fillable forms to help with your tax return.
Visit IRS.gov/freefile for more information.
Need Assistance with a Tax Dispute?
The Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) program provides free to low-cost services, including:
- Representation – LITC representslow-income individuals in disputes with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), including audits, appeals, collection matters, and federal tax litigation. LITCs can also help taxpayers respond to IRS notices and correct account problems.
- Education – Clinics provide information about taxpayer rights and responsibilities to individuals for whom English is a second language.
- Advocacy on behalf of low-income and ESL taxpayers.
To find an LITC program near you, click here.