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  • Pima County teams up with United Way to offer free tax assistance

    Feb 07, 2023 | Read More News
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    income tax helpPima County and the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona this week will begin offering free and fast tax-preparation assistance to members of the community.

    The Valet VITA program, a partnership between Pima County’s Community & Workforce Development Department and the United Way since 2016, is available to families and individuals with incomes up to $73,000 per year. The collaboration is part of the larger Voluntary Income Tax Assistance, or VITA, program offered by the United Way.

    What makes Valet VITA different is how quickly the process happens. Customers bring in their documents to be reviewed and scanned, usually a 30-minute process. In two to three weeks’ time, their tax returns are completed by volunteer, IRS-certified tax preparers.

    When the tax returns are ready, the taxpayer reviews and approves via text message or email, after which the United Way files both the federal and state returns for free.

    The tax help will be available on Thursdays Feb. 9 through March 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Pima County’s Kino One-Stop, 2797 E. Ajo Way. Walk-in assistance is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

    “Valet VITA is for busy people who don’t have time to wait in line at the traditional VITA tax-preparation sites but can wait a few weeks for their tax returns to be completed.” said Bonnie Bazata, who oversees the Valet VITA program for Pima County. “VITA can save most taxpayers an average of $300 and ensure that individuals take full advantage of earned income or child care tax credits. That’s money in your pocket and money that gets spent in our community.”

    In addition to tax assistance, Pima County is offering classes to show residents how to prepare their own tax returns. Those classes will be held Feb. 9, March 2 and March 15 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., also at the Kino One-Stop.

    Pima County resident Curtis Stokelin has used Valet VITA every year since the program began. He said he plans to do so again this tax season.

    “It’s easy, free and fast,” Stokelin said. “You should try it.”

    And while you at the One-Stop, pick up information on job assistance and training programs; rent and utility assistance; the PEEPS preschool scholarships; and more.

    To participate in Valet VITA, residents must bring:
    • Picture IDs for taxpayers and spouses; both spouses must be present to sign documents;
    • A Social Security card for each family member;
    • Proof of income, including W-2s and 1099s;
    • Account and routing numbers for direct deposit of refunds. If you don’t have a bank account, the program can help you open one;
    • If applicable, Forms 5498-SA and 1099-SA for health savings accounts and 1095A for the Affordable Care Act
    Taxpayers without the required documents cannot be assisted.