IRS trained and certified volunteers will complete and electronically file all federal, state and local tax returns and forms. Services are available by appointment at all VITA sites.

Am I eligible?

Free tax preparation with volunteer assistance is available to all married couples or singles with or without children with incomes below $60,000.

If business income is present, earning must be less than $10,000 for business.

No return with rental income can be prepared.

Is this service right for me?

If you like having a knowledgeable, pleasant person helping you with your taxes, and you would not be comfortable filling out tax forms on your own, full-service assistance is right for you. The volunteers are trained and certified and can file federal, state, multi-state, and local tax returns, and the tax forms most individual taxpayers will need. Taxable and nontaxable income can be processed including W-2, 1099, Social Security, Disability, Pensions, and Unemployment. (Other income such as farm or rental income is out of scope for VITA sites). Tax preparers at the VITA sites will also file all special tax credits including federal credits for tuition or Earned Income Tax Credit; and the State of Michigan Home Heating Credit and Homestead Property Tax Credit.

Who is providing this service and why?

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is a community partnership between the IRS and local nonprofit organizations led by Goodwill Industries of West Michigan. VITA coalition partners work year round to plan and organize free tax preparation services, recruit and train volunteers, and conduct outreach activities and events to increase awareness of tax credits and free tax preparation services available to hardworking families. The coalition partners are committed to tax credit outreach and free tax preparation services because both help to raise incomes for local families and increase financial stability. In addition, free tax preparation programs help to increase the amount of refund dollars returned to area communities and help to increase local economic activity.

The volunteers who complete and electronically file tax returns at the VITA sites are required to complete a series of online and classroom training sessions developed by the IRS and local tax experts. The volunteers must also obtain IRS certification as qualified volunteer tax preparers by passing a series of tests. Along with requiring detailed knowledge of tax law, filing statuses, and deductions and exemptions, the volunteers must also pass tests covering privacy rules and ethics. At each site, experienced volunteers who have passed additional certifications in quality review and site coordination oversee the work of the volunteer tax preparers and review and check each return before it is electronically filed. These volunteers commit hours of service because they want to help their communities by ensuring hardworking individuals can claim and keep all of the tax credits they have earned.

What do I have to do?

Contact CALL 2-1-1 - dial 211 or 1-877-211-5253 for Muskegon County and Dial 2-1-1 or 1-800-887-1107 for Newaygo/Oceana County - to determine if you are eligible for free tax services, and to find a VITA site that is located near you. The call specialists will help you determine which service is best for you and will take your information to schedule an appointment, or will direct you to your best option for your circumstance. The call specialist will also advise you of the identification, forms and documents you must bring with you to the VITA site in order to have your tax return prepared. CALL 2-1-1 will begin to take appointments in January 2019.

In order to prepare your return at a VITA site:

  • BOTH spouses MUST be present for a joint return

You MUST have:

  • Social Security or ITIN cards for you, your spouse and any dependents
  • Photo ID for you and your spouse
  • All income forms: W2, 1099, 1098, SSI, etc
  • Information from all other income sources
  • 1095A, 1095B, 1095C, or other healthcare information

To ensure you get all your credits and deductions, bring all of the following that apply to you:

  • Copy of last year's return
  • Amount spent on child/dependent care and care provider's name, address, tax ID number
  • Heating paid in the previous year
  • If you are a DTE customer, bring in bill
  • Monthly rent amount, total rent paid in the previous year, landlord name and address
  • Summer and winter property tax bills and receipts from the previous year
  • Health insurance premiums paid
  • Bank routing and account numbers
  • Information needed for other deductions/credits