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 2013 tax season with “Super Saturday” on February 2. 
Free tax preparation services for low- to moderate-income families in West Michigan will be available for walk-ins on Saturday, February 2 at the following times and locations:

  • 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.            Goodwill Industries Workforce Development Center, 950 West Norton

Avenue, Suite C, Muskegon

  • 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.            Baker College, Room T-106, 1903 Marquette Avenue, 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 $55,000 if they are married or have children; and below $22,000 if they are single and have no children.

Individuals with reasonable computer skills may file their own returns using computers and free online tax filing software at the Goodwill Workforce Development Center or Baker College during the same times on Saturday, February 2.

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 15 sites in four counties.  
Sites with regular appointment schedules beginning Monday, February 4, 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 Muskegon, 2735 East Apple Avenue, Suite A, Muskegon
  • Baker College, 1903 Marquette Avenue, Muskegon
  • TrueNorth Community Services, 6308 South Warner, Fremont

Sites with limited dates of service are:

  • Family Health Care, 1615 Michigan Avenue, Baldwin 
  • Family Health Care, 11 North Maple, Grant
  • Family Health Care, 1035 East Wilcox, White Cloud
  • Hart Area Public Library, 415 South State Street, Hart
  • Hesperia Community Library, 80 South Division, Hesperia
  • Holton Branch Library, 8776 Holton Duck Lake Road, Holton
  • Love INC - Newaygo, 11 West 96th Street, Grant
  • Muskegon Community College, 221 South Quarterline Road, Muskegon

Dates and times vary by location. Services have been scheduled at the various sites so services are available mornings or evenings each week, and several Saturdays. For schedule listings and updates, visit VITAWestMIchigan.org.

Appointments are required for same day volunteer tax preparer services.  Appointments are scheduled by calling 2-1-1, or toll free 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.

Walk-in services are also available at select VITA sites – no appointment required. Individuals or couples with incomes up to $57,000 may use computers and free online filing software to file their own taxes during hours of operation at select sites. These sites 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
  • Baker College of Muskegon, 1903 Marquette Avenue, Muskegon
  • Muskegon Community College, 221 South Quarterline Rd, Muskegon (February 20-21 only)

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 assistance.

Walk-in services with full-service volunteer tax preparation will also be available at the two Goodwill locations and the Community enCompasss Learning Lab. Clients using this service will have all of their documents and information electronically scanned, and will return within three days to pick up their completed return. The service will reduce wait times at the tax preparation site for return processing by at least an hour for each client.

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 married workers with earned income up to $50,270 (or $45,060 for single workers) ranges from $475 to $5,891. 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. 

TO SCHEDULE APPOINTMENT, or to see if you qualify for free tax preparation services, please call 2-1-1.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Jane Drake, Goodwill Industries Prosperity Center Manager, (231) 722-7871 x309; jdrake@goodwillwm.org; VITAWestMichigan.org

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