Doing taxes can be tough.
Encapsulating an entire year after the fact while navigating the varying rules at the federal, state and local level all while trying to ensure you get the credits, reductions and rebates you're entitled to can get complicated fast.
However, if you're an elderly, low-income or disabled individual looking for help with a basic return or rent and property tax rebates, there may be help.
Last year’s VITA program volunteers, front row, left to right, June Natale, Gary Olson and Bev Callahan, and back row, same order, Peg Stino, John Lyon, Greg Burkett, Pat Williams and Gretchen McClain. Not available for photo were Clair Beardsley, Ann Wolfe and Joann Greenawalt.
The Warren-Forest County Area Agency on Aging, Experience Inc., through its Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) is once again hosting the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program.
"The VITA tax program is an extremely valuable program to people in our area," RSVP Director Susan Himes said. "Not only for the cost savings that it allows, but also for the peace of mind that our volunteers give to folks who know that they are being assisted by trained, dedicated tax preparers."
VITA, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) program description, "Generally offers free tax help to people who make $52,000 or less and need assistance in preparing their own tax returns."
"The program serves so many sectors of our community low-income people of all ages, our disabled community, as well as our older population," Himes said.
Through VITA, volunteers certified by the IRS aid residents with free, basic income tax return preparation and electronic filing.
The program in Warren County provides help with federal, state and local tax forms, as well as rent and property tax rebate filing, and will even help with issues after filing.
"Our volunteers will also help people resolve their tax return issues after tax season," Himes noted. "They really go the extra mile to help our community."
Last year, local VITA volunteers provided help to more than 1,200 residents in Warren and Forest counties and saved residents more than $100,000 in estimated processing fees.
The program is expanding this year to Youngsville Borough. VITA volunteers will be available at the Youngsville Borough Building on Railroad Street every Tuesday and Thursday.
"We are fortunate to have the Allegheny Community Center here in Warren County where we have a space dedicated just for tax preparation five days a week. We have a corps of 12 volunteers who will be working at the center as well as our satellite sites in Warren and Forest counties to ensure that anyone who needs their taxes filed is able to do so."
Sites where VITA assistance will be provided in the county, and times help will be available, include:
Allegheny Community Center (ACC), 42 Clark St., Mondays from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., and Tuesdays through Fridays from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., beginning Feb. 3. Call the ACC at 814-230-7222 for appointments.
Youngsville Borough, 40 Railroad St., every Tuesday and Thursday, beginning Feb. 11, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Call the ACC at 814-230-7222 for appointments.
Tidioute Senior Center, 25 First St., every other Thursday, beginning Feb. 13, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Call Pat Sveda at 484-3020 for appointment.
Sheffield Hospitality Center, Main St. and Pickering St., Feb 21 and March 7 and 21, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Call the Sheffield Hospitality Center at 968-5667 for appointment.
Sugar Grove Library, 22 Harmon St., dates to be announced. Call the library at 489-7872 for appointment.