Voice of the consumer: Free tax help available as deadline looms
Our 11 News Call For Action team pens a weekly column for our news partner The Gazette. Previous columns can be found here.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Tax Day is just under two months away, and I want to make sure you know all the resources available to help you file your taxes for free this year.
The Pikes Peak United Way runs the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program in partnership with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Families with an annual household income below $57,000 qualify for this free program.
“VITA helps people identify tax credits that they may not know about, like income tax credit, child care tax credit, education tax credits, and a few more,” said Cindy Aubrey, Pikes Peak United Way’s CEO. “In years past, we’ve talked with a lot of people who did not know about income tax or education tax credits. This is saving a lot of money for individuals.”
Aubrey said the Pikes Peak United Way is scheduling in-person appointments at three sites across Colorado Springs. Depending on the complexity of the return and how busy the site is, the United Way says people should expect to be there anywhere from 55 to 70 minutes.
If you’re interested in this program, you’re asked to reserve a time. You can do that online by visiting www.ppunitedway.org and clicking “Free Taxes” on the top right of the website. You can also call 2-1-1 to make an appointment.
Pikes Peak Community College is also offering families free tax preparation through March 20. IRS-certified PPCC accounting students will prepare and file tax returns for households with incomes of less than $57,000 a year.
“It’s so special to have the opportunity to be part of a program with such a direct positive impact on our community while providing our students with real-world experience,” said Melissa Nelson, PPPC’s accounting program chair. “We’re proud to be saving people money on tax preparation services, and helping them get the best refund possible so they can make ends meet during a challenging time.”
This free service will be offered Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at PPCC’s Centennial Campus Atrium. You can schedule an appointment by calling 719-502-4TAX or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The IRS is also offering Free File, a free tax prep software for people who earn $72,000 a year or less. You can find more information at www.IRS.gov/FreeFile.
Remember, Tax Day is April 15. This year, it falls on a Thursday, and don’t forget: if you qualified for the stimulus checks but did not receive the full amount, make sure to claim it as the ‘Recovery Rebate Credit’ when you file your taxes this year.
I also wanted to keep the numbers for COVID-19 vaccine questions on your radar. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has a vaccine hotline that’s open 24/7. You can call 1-877-268-2926 for more information. You can also call 2-1-1 or text “vaccine” to 667873 to get contact information for your preferred health care provider to sign up for a vaccine.
You can learn more about the different vaccines and track how many Coloradans have gotten vaccinated on the state’s website at covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine.
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