Pima County teams with United Way to offer tax assistance - Tucson News Now

Pima County teams with United Way to offer tax assistance

(Source: United Way) (Source: United Way)
PIMA COUNTY, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Pima County is again teaming with United Way to offer free tax-preparation assistance to anyone with a family income under $66,000.
 
The Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program enables taxpayers to bring in their documents, which are reviewed, scanned, and uploaded to a secure server. It usually takes about 20 minutes.  Seven to 10 days later (sometimes faster), the return is securely emailed or can be picked up at a VITA site.
 
Sessions are offered at eight rotating locations. (See schedule below.) It starts Feb. 6 at the Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone Ave. No appointments necessary and it’s first come, first served.
 
For the last two years, the county’s Community Services, Employment and Training Department offered the assistance to County employees, family and friends, as well as clients and the general public  “Every year we’ve expanded and this year we hope to reach even more taxpayers,”said Bonnie Bazata, who directs the county’s Ending Poverty Now Program.

“Taxes can be a headache and time-consuming,” Bazata said. “The United Way’s Valet VITA program simplifies the process while providing the highest quality service – for free. For low-income families, using VITA means avoiding financial predators, ensuring they qualify for important tax credits, and keeping all of their tax return. That is a poverty-busting formula.”
 
Taxpayers must bring: 

  1. Picture I.D. for taxpayer and spouse. Both spouses must be present to sign documents! Social Security card for EACH family member?
  2. Proof of income, including W2s and 1099s?
  3. Account and routing numbers for direct deposit of refunds 
  4. Documentation for deductible expenses such as home mortgage interest or real estate taxes. 
  5. Forms 5498-SA and 1099-SA for Health Savings Accounts and 1095A for Affordable Care Act. 

Taxpayers without the required documents cannot be assisted. 
 
Erin Sol, a program specialist with Pima County’s Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation Department, found the process helpful and easy. 

“We went through my return step by step, including my Itemized Deductions, and I didn’t find any errors. I would definitely recommend the service! Filing taxes can be confusing, especially with the yearly changes to tax law, so it was a relief to know I was getting expert help.”

Todd Harriman with Pima County’s Adult Probation Department, agreed. 

“I didn't want to pay the outrageous prices places charge to do them,” he said. “I found it pretty easy. I am definitely going to use them again and would recommend it to everyone.

Dates and locations of events: 

  • Feb. 6-8 - Joel D. Valdez Main Library • 101 N. Stone Ave. • Contact: Ken Zambos, 594-5573
  • Feb. 13-15 - Abrams Public Health Center • 3950 S. Country Club Road, Room 1104 • Contact: Michelle Spears, 724-7947 (Will stay open till 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday)
  • Feb. 20-22 - Pima County Housing Center • 801 W. Congress • Contact: Martha Martin, 724-2463
  • Feb. 27-March 1 -  Kino Veterans’ Workforce Center • 2801 E. Ajo Way • Contact: Jess Grover, 724-2636
  • March 6-8 - Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department • 2955 W. Calle Agua Nueva • Contact: Steve King, 724-6207
  • March 13-15 - Sullivan Jackson Employment Center • 400 E. 26th St. • Contact: Yvette Cruz, 724-7310
  • March 20-22 - Kino Service Center • 2797 E. Ajo Way • Contact: Murney Brown, 724-5716
  • March 27-29 - Rio Nuevo Service Center • 340 N. Commerce Park Loop, Tortolita Building • Contact: Diana Garcia, 724-7608

Every week, the hours will be the same: Tuesdays - 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesdays - Noon to 5 p.m., and Thursdays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Check eligibility at www.unitedwaytucson.org/freetaxhelp. Direct questions to Bonnie Bazata, bonnie.bazata@pima.gov, 724-3704.

“We are excited to partner and bring this program to more of our employees and to the people we serve,” Bazata said. County departments that would like posters or flyers to post in their offices should contact Bazata.

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