Appanoose County Extension would like to open a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. The County office is seeking three individuals who have an understanding of tax law and are comfortable using software to complete individual tax returns.

The VITA program is marking 50 years of operation this year. Appanoose County residents must travel to Corydon, Ottumwa or Oskaloosa for services.

“The IRS determines the scope of work that can be completed by a volunteer,” states Joyce Lash field specialist, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, “as long as volunteers stay within the scope of forms allowed by the IRS they are given liability protection for errors and omissions.”

“Income guidelines apply with a cap set of $55,000 or less. The intent of the service is to reduce tax preparation costs for individuals who are eligible for tax credits and to help them avoid high-cost loans and fees,” stated Lash. “A return is typically filed electronically and after the date set by the IRS in February for release of returns with EITC or Child Tax Credit claims, refunds can be deposited within 10 days of filing.”

Volunteers receive training and complete certification examines in January. Sites open their doors for appointments after February 1 and can remain open until April 15. Volunteers determine the hours of operation, based on their availability. A minimum of one site coordinator and two preparers is required to meet IRS standards during operating hours. Training, resources and technical support are provided.

If you are interested in volunteering, call the Appanoose County Extension office at 641-856-3885 and provide your contact information. If a sufficient number of individuals are interested, Extension will organize an informational meeting to answer questions and provide additional details about becoming a VITA volunteer.

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