Home  /  Free Tax Services /  FAQs

FAQs

What is VITA?
VITA is a federal program that provides free tax help to qualified individuals and families prepare their tax returns.  Volunteers at community-based locations prepare basic tax returns for taxpayers with low to moderate incomes.

How much does VITA cost?
VITA is completely free for eligible individuals.

Where are VITA services offered?
VITA services are offered in multiple locations throughout Warren and Washington counties.

Aren’t you competing with local accountants and other tax prep services?
No.  VITA serves lower income individuals and families who generally can’t afford paid tax services.  In fact, paid tax preparation companies often refer clients to VITA.

Who will be preparing my taxes?
Your taxes will be prepared by a local VITA volunteer.  All volunteers go through a comprehensive training program and are certified by the IRS to prepare VITA returns.  If you or somebody you know is interested in volunteering, please see our volunteer page.

How long does it take to prepare my taxes?
The average return takes about 30 mins.  However, each case is different depending on filing statuses, exemptions, quantity of income sources, and eligible tax credits.

How will I know if I’m eligible for tax credits?
During a brief interview process, your VITA volunteer will ask you a series of questions to help identify tax credits you may be eligible to claim.  During the actual tax preparation, your VITA volunteer will use official IRS tax software to calculate tax credits.

Do your volunteers know what they’re doing?
All of our volunteers go through a comprehensive training program and are certified by the IRS.  Additionally, our process ensures that a second volunteer will double check your return before filing.  Finally, our IRS-certified software will point out any errors before your return is processed.

How soon will I receive my tax refund?
If you’re eligible for a federal income tax refund, choose direct deposit to a checking or savings account, and allow VITA to e-file your return with the IRS, the average refund generally is available in about 10 to 14 business days.

Is it safe to e-file?
Yes.  In fact, the IRS recommends e-filing as the safest and fastest way to process your tax return.

Do I have to have a bank account?
A bank account is not required.  However, choosing to have your refund deposited to a checking or savings account can drastically increase the speed at which you receive your refund.  VITA has arranged for representatives from local financial institutions to be available on-site to open special checking or savings accounts for interested individuals.

I don’t make that much money.  Do I even need to file?
You may be eligible for tax credits that you didn’t even know existed.  Only by filing will you know for sure.  We frequently see individuals who think they won’t receive anything back walk out with significant refunds.

What about privacy and personal information?
All VITA returns are processed using a secured software program provided directly from the IRS.  Additionally, your VITA information is always considered confidential.

Do you do state tax returns?
Yes.  Our VITA volunteers are able to process New York and Vermont state tax returns at the same time they complete your federal return. We must complete your federal return in order to complete your state return.

Do I have to be a resident of Warren or Washington county?
No.  While the majority of our clients are local, we can prepare federal returns regardless of your residence and state returns for residents of New York and Vermont.

What if I owe money?
The majority of our participants end up with either no additional tax obligations or a tax refund.  However, we occasionally have individuals who will owe money toward their tax liability.  Our volunteers can give you a payment voucher that you can take home and mail back any time prior to April 15.  Your VITA volunteer also can provide other options, including direct debit to a bank or credit account.

WHAT’S HAPPENING AT VITA...