By Engy Shaaban
The Mercer Creating Assets, Savings and Hope Campaign (CASH) has partnered with United Way of Greater Mercer County (UWGMC) to offer expanded free tax prep services in Mercer County as part of the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA).
VITA offers free tax services to individuals whose annual income is $65,000 or less. The program provides other services in addition to the free tax prep including assistance filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), credit counseling, and debt management services.
There are IRS-certified volunteers at all tax sites who are trained in basic tax law. Many locations have volunteers who speak other languages and can assist those who have difficulty communicating in English, as well. You can call 211 or visit nj211.org to find a free tax return preparation site, a full list of New Jersey tax prep locations, and a link for the UWGMC site to schedule an appointment. The majority of the sites, which are listed below, run on a walk-in, first come, first serve basis.
It is worth noting that this year if you are claiming EITC credit, the returns will not be processed until February 15, 2017. This delay will cause the refunds not to be available for at least two weeks later. Be aware of offers claiming that they can complete these returns earlier. Those making such offers cannot submit them and may actually be offering you a loan, instead.
If you are planning to visit any of the sites listed below, you will need to bring the following: picture ID; Social Security Cards (or ITINs) and dates of birth for the taxpayer, spouse, children, and any other dependents you are claiming. Please note that if you are married but filing separately from your spouse, you will also need your spouse’s social security number.
You will also need dates of birth for all taxpayers and dependents, W2 forms, a year-end pay stub, and 1099 forms.
Likewise, you will be asked to present a statement with unemployment amounts paid and taxes withheld, your last paystub or end of year pension statements, ACA healthcare forms 1095-A, 1095-B, or 1095 C and insurance information with months of coverage for each person in the household and records of related medical expenses (totaled).
You will also be asked to provide statements that record charitable contributions of $250 or more (also totaled), rent or mortgage interest statements, and property tax information. Finally, a copy of your last income tax return, bank account and routing number will be needed.
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