Visit VITA for Free Tax Preparation

Tax season marks the beginning of one of the services being provided by PATH in Tyler. PATH is the site of the local Volunteers in Tax Assistance (VITA) program. The main feature of the VITA program is that low-income taxpayers can go to a VITA  site and get their tax returns done for free. At PATH, the VITA program is open from 9:00 - 12:00 noon on Saturdays and 5:00 to 7:00 pm on Wednesday nights.

The VITA program is provided in partnership with the Internal Revenue Service. Volunteer tax preparers do have to pass one or more certification exams before preparing returns. The program is also monitored by qualified people who verify all tax returns prepared by volunteers. As with most tax preparation companies, VITA can e-file and also allow you to have refunds direct-deposited.

There are limitations on what can be included in the return. VITA is generally limited to taxpayers making $51,000 or less. Some transactions and forms are also out of scope for VITA. If your return contains elements that are out of scope for the VITA program, you will be advised to go to a CPA or other tax professional to have you tax return prepared.

Not only do low-income taxpayers get a benefit from the service, but volunteers also benefit from being able to provide that service. One group in particular that benefits from the VITA program are student volunteers from the University of Texas at Tyler. The UT Tyler Beta Alpha Psi honor society has a team of members at the VITA site every week. In addition to the hours "earned" by preparing tax returns, members and other volunteers gain valuable tax preparation experience.

Don't worry about volunteers using the services to promote some business or activity. Sites are expressly forbidden to use VITA to promote any business in any way.

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