Connecting with Community: Free tax prep opens for Indy residents

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Tax season is in full swing and the city of Indianapolis is once again offering an easy and free way to prepare your 2013 taxes through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, or VITA.

VITA was created by the IRS, which certifies volunteers across the country to prepare tax returns so that taxpayers can take full advantage of Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit (CTC) and education credits.

Any Indianapolis resident with a household income less than $58,000 qualifies for free tax preparation, which applies to the majority of residents. The median household income in Indianapolis is $42,144 according to the most recent census data from the year 2012.

The VITA program is part of Indianapolis’ Campaign for Financial Fitness, which is headed up by Indianapolis’ First Lady, Winnie Ballard.

“This year we have about 200 volunteers that (signed) up,” says Ballard. “As we do this until April 15. We are always looking for volunteers.”

Brent Frymier, VP of marketing for Huntington Bank, has been a VITA volunteer for six years in a row.

“It’s really nice to see the smile on people’s faces when they leave,” says Frymier. “They get their taxes prepared and saved hundreds of dollars, so that’s very rewarding.”

In 2013, 6,100 tax returns were filed through the VITA program in Indianapolis, which resulted in more than $7 million in tax refunds and a savings of $690,000 in tax preparation fees.

“It’s really helpful because I’m on a shoe-string budget,” says Lorenza Prince, a retired senior on disability. “I don’t have money to pay H&R Block or those other places.”

All eligible VITA tax returns are prepared and submitted to the IRS electronically, and refunds are generally received within seven to 10 days.

Indianapolis VITA sites will be located throughout the community with many offering evening and weekend hours.  Call 211 for hours and locations.

blog comments powered by Disqus