Free tax preparation for residents filing past due returns
Although the 2017 tax filing season has ended, there is still free help available in preparing past due and amended tax returns. Now through October, the Louisville Asset Building Coalition’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, or VITA, will provide federal and state income tax assistance to income eligible residents who need help filing prior returns. It is also still possible to receive a refund for returns from the years 2015 to 2017 for those who qualify. Taxpayers earning $64,000 can make an appointment with a VITA team member by calling (502) 574-5687.
Summer/early fall VITA tax preparation sites are located at the following:
- The Edison Center, 701 W Ormsby, Suite 201, 40203 - Tuesdays, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- Louisville Urban League 1535 W Broadway, 40203 - Wednesday, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
The IRS lists the following reasons for filing past due returns:
- Avoid interest and penalties
File your past due return and pay now to limit interest charges and late payment penalties.
- Claim a Refund
You risk losing your refund if you do not file your return. If you are due a refund for withholding or estimated taxes, you must file your return to claim it within three years of the return due date. The same rule applies to a right to claim tax credits such as the Earned Income Credit.
- Protect Social Security Benefits
If you are self-employed and do not file your federal income tax return, any self-employment income you earned will not be reported to the Social Security Administration and you will not receive credits toward Social Security retirement or disability benefits.
- Avoid Issues Obtaining Loans
Loan approvals may be delayed if you do not file your return. Copies of filed tax returns must be submitted to financial institutions, mortgage lenders/brokers, etc., whenever you want to buy or refinance a home, get a loan for a business, or apply for federal aid for higher education.
- If You Owe More Than You Can Pay
If you cannot pay what you owe, you can request an additional 60-120 days to pay your account in full through the Online Payment Agreement Application or by calling 800-829-1040; no user fee will be charged. If you need more time to pay, you can request an installment agreement or you may qualify for an offer in compromise.
Amended tax returns may be necessary if you excluded a source of income when filing your original return, and are required by the IRS to add the additional document. Also taxpayers are often not aware of the credits that they are eligible when they file their original return and in these cases the VITA team can assist them in filing for these credits. For example, many taxpayers are not aware that educational expenses can be used as a credit in many cases.
Please be sure to bring the following items to your appointment with a VITA representative:
- Social security card for everyone on tax return
- Picture ID for taxpayer and spouse
- W-2 and 1099 from employer
- List of other income/expenses
- 1098 for education credit
- 1095-A for certain healthcare credits
- Blank check or account info for direct deposit
- Savings account and routing numbers if you would like to save a portion of your refund
- Schedule C’s also prepared for self-employment
- For amended returns, a copy of the original tax return.
“We encourage residents who missed the date to file their tax returns or who have returns that need to be amended to file so that they can claim the refunds and credits for which they are eligible,” said Brittany Sims, Program Director for the Louisville Asset Building Coalition (LABC) which administers the local VITA program. “We also encourage taxpayers who believe that they will owe money to file as soon as possible, and we can assist them with setting up a payment plan.”
During the 2017 tax filing season, LABC prepared almost 8,400 returns that provided an average refund of $1,695 at twelve sites in Louisville.
The work of the Louisville Asset Building Coalition (LABC) is funded locally by Louisville Metro Government, Metro United Way and several other partners. Louisville Metro Office of Resilience and Community Services also provides administrative, marketing and technical support, as well as a shared mission to build the financial stability of the residents in our community.
For more information on LABC services, please visit www.labcservices.org.