Free tax preparation services available in West Michigan

Goodwill Industries participates in Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Coalition

MUSKEGON -- Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Services for West Michigan – a coalition of fifteen area nonprofit organizations – will kick-off the 2012 tax season with “Super Saturday” on February 4.Free tax preparation services for low- to moderate-income families in West Michigan will be available on Saturday, February 4 at the following times and locations:

  • 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.TrueNorth Community Services, 6308 South Warner, Fremont
  • 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.Goodwill Industries Workforce Development Center, 950 West Norton Avenue, Suite C, Muskegon
  • 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.Muskegon Learning Lab, 19 Hartford, Muskegon

For the Super Saturday events, no appointments are required. Tax returns will be processed by IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers on a first-come, first-served basis. To qualify for the service, clients must have household income below $50,000 if they are married or have children; and below $25,000 if they are single and have no children.Individuals who have reasonable computer skills may file their own returns using IRS-provided computers and free online tax filing software at the Goodwill Workforce Development Center or the Muskegon Learning Lab during at the same times on Saturday, February 4.To utilize the self-assisted or certified preparer services, clients must also bring with them all documents and information necessary to complete a return, which include:

  • Social Security cards for self and spouse
  • Photo IDs for self and spouse
  • All income forms: W2, 1099, 1098, SSI, etc.
  • Copy of last year’s return
  • Bank routing and account numbers
  • All documents and information required for deductions or credits

VITA Services for West Michigan, started in 2005 with one site in Muskegon County. Since then, the number of locations has expanded to now include 13 sites in four counties.Sites with regular appointment schedules beginning Monday, February 6, are:

  • Goodwill Industries of West Michigan, 271 East Apple Avenue, Muskegon
  • Goodwill Industries Workforce Development Center, 950 West Norton Avenue, Muskegon
  • Community encompass, Muskegon Learning Lab, 19 Hartford, Muskegon
  • Community encompass, Sacred Suds, 289 East Larch, Muskegon
  • Love INC, 2735 East Apple Avenue, Suite A, Muskegon
  • Muskegon-Oceana Community Action Partnership, 1170 West Southern Avenue, Muskegon
  • TrueNorth Community Services, 6308 South Warner, FremontSites with limited dates of service are:
  • Family Health Care, 1615 Michigan Avenue, Baldwin
  • Family Health Care, 11 North Maple, Gran
  • Family Health Care, 1035 East Wilcox, White Cloud
  • The Stream, 1 State Road, Newaygo
  • MSU- Extension, 210 Johnson Street, Hart
  • Hesperia Community Library, 80 South Division, Hesperia

Dates and times vary by location. Services have been scheduled at the various sites so services are available every weekday from morning through evening, and several Saturdays.Appointments for tax preparer-assisted services will be required at all locations.Appointments will be scheduled by CALL 2-1-1 – dial 211, or 1-877-211-5252. Call specialists at 2-1-1 will also provide information and assistance in determining if individuals are eligible for the free services, which tax credits if any they may qualify for, and what documents and information they will need to bring with them to an appointment.Laptops on loan from the IRS will also be available at three sites for qualifying individuals to file their own taxes using free software. The sites for free self-assisted filing are:

  • Goodwill Industries of West Michigan, 271 East Apple Avenue, Muskegon
  • Goodwill Industries Workforce Development Center, 950 West Norton Avenue, Muskegon
  • Community encompass, Muskegon Learning Lab, 19 Hartford, Muskegon

Individuals will have to meet income and age limits and have all of the required documents and information in order to use the self-assisted filing services. Volunteers will be on hand to provide limited assistance.VITA Services for West Michigan was organized as partnership with the Internal Revenue Services to ensure eligible taxpayers claim and keep all of the tax credits they are eligible for. It is estimated that at least 20 percent of eligible individuals do not claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the federal government’s largest program benefitting workers with low to modest incomes. The maximum EITC refund for workers with earned income up to $49,078 ranges from $434 to $5,751. The amount of the credit varies by income and number of qualifying children in the household. Parents or guardians with earned income and qualifying children may also be eligible for a Child Tax Credit of up to $1,000 per child.

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