Libraries to offer tax prep help

As a new years begins, so does tax season. This process can be confusing for many individuals and can leave them feeling unprepared for Tax Day. Thankfully, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, offered by local libraries can help alleviate some of the stress.

VITA is an IRS-sponsored program designed to help low to middle-income individuals prepare and file their taxes. It is primarily geared towards low-income individuals, persons with disabilities, and limited English-speaking individuals. To qualify for this program, one’s gross income must be under $57,000.

The IRS tests and certifies many individuals to become volunteers for the VITA program. These individuals will be the ones on the sites assisting clients with basic tax returns. These volunteers can also process returns with 1099 income, retirement income, student loans, education and childcare credits, business income, Affordable Care healthcare coverage, business income, and capital gains. However, these volunteers cannot assist clients with tobacco settlement or farm income, nor military or clergy. This exclusion is because of the special tax laws in place for these individuals.

The Northwest Regional Library system has offered this program free of charge for nearly seven years.

On Jan. 20 the Elkin Public Library will begin making appointments for clients to drop-off income papers and relevant information. Appointments will be available on Mondays and Thursdays, Jan.31 through April 4.

Different sites will have varying procedures concerning making appointments. The dates of this program will also differ between sites. Please contact a local library for more information and a full list of requirements.