Tax season is almost here, and the Benefit Fund’s free Tax Preparation Assistance Program works to make sure that you are able to prepare your taxes securely, and with any income-based credits and deductions you’ve earned. This includes filing for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) if you qualify, and getting a much-deserved break on your taxes. Assistance is available onsite or through your home computer.
For Those with a Household Income of $66,000 or Less
If your 2018 household income was below $55,000 (or $30,000 if you’re single and have no dependents), our partners at Food Bank For New York City and the nonprofit educational program Ariva are offering free tax preparation events throughout the five boroughs this tax season.
The Food Bank For New York City also offers the Virtual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (Virtual VITA) program for convenient electronic ﬁling (e-ﬁling) at various locations. You are eligible to use Virtual VITA if your 2018 household income was $55,000 or less, whether you have dependents or not. For more information, read more below or call Member Services at (646) 473-9200.
Even if you don’t live near a Food Bank For New York City or Ariva site, be sure to check the guide below to find out whether you qualify for the EITC before filing your return.
Claim Your EITC
You may qualify for the EITC if you meet these 2018 income requirements:
- Income below $49,194 ($54,884 if married, filing a joint return) with three or more dependent children
- Income below $45,802 ($51,492 if married, filing a joint return) with two dependent children
- Income below $40,320 ($46,010 if married, filing a joint return) with one dependent child
- Income below $15,270 ($20,950 if married, filing a joint return) with no dependent children
If Your Household Income Is below $55,000, You Can Visit One of Our Partner Organizations for Free Tax Preparation in the Five Boroughs
You CAN receive free tax preparation assistance even if you itemize the following deductions:
- Medical and dental expenses
- State and local property or sales tax you paid
- Interest on your mortgage and/or investments
- Gifts to charity
- Certain work-related expenses
You CANNOT receive free tax preparation assistance if:
- you are filing a tax return in another state;
- you have additional deductions, forms or schedules other than those mentioned above or on page (“What You Need to Bring to Have Your Taxes Prepared Onsite”); or
- you have self-employment income (reported on Form 1099-MISC or from your own business), and you incurred deductible expenses to earn your income, except if you are a child-care provider or cab driver with $10,000 or less in expenses.
Onsite Option 1:
Filing Your Taxes with the Help of a Tax Expert
As long as your 2018 household income was below $55,000 (or $30,000 if you are single and have no dependents), our partners at Food Bank For New York City and Ariva offer one-on-one electronic filing (e-filing) at their many free tax preparation sites. A tax expert will review your information with you and help you file your taxes, as well as file for the EITC if you qualify. Most locations require an appointment, so visit www.FoodBankNYC.org/taxhelp or www.Ariva.org before you go.
Onsite Option 2:
E-filing Your Taxes with Onsite Help
As long as your 2018 household income was below $55,000 (whether you have dependents or not), Food Bank For New York City also offers the Virtual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (Virtual VITA) program for convenient electronic filing (e-filing) at various locations. Most locations require an appointment, so visit www.FoodBankNYC.org/taxhelp before you go.
Here’s how onsite e-filling works:
- If you will be filing a joint return with your spouse, both of you must be present at the appointment. You will also need to bring everything on page (“What You Need to Bring to Have Your Taxes Prepared Onsite”)
- A site volunteer will verify your identity, review your income- and tax-related documents, and help you get started.
- Your forms and documents will be securely transmitted to Food Bank For New York City’s Tax Preparation Site, where your tax return will be processed by a certified tax preparer.
- Your certified tax preparer will call you within 48 hours to go over your tax return and complete the e-filing process.
- Your tax return will be electronically filed! You must have access to a computer and an email address, because the link to your completed tax return will be sent by email.
Other Resources for Onsite Tax Help
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Sites Near You
If you can’t find a convenient site near you, there are additional Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites that offer free tax preparation assistance. Just call the VITA Site Locator Hotline at (800) 906-9887 or use the VITA Site Locator Tool to locate your nearest VITA site and find hours of operation and contact numbers.
AARP Foundation Tax-Aide
The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is available for free to taxpayers with low and moderate income, especially for those who are 60 and older. Go to www.AARP.org, enter “Tax-Aide locator” in the search box and then choose the selection that shows a tax preparation site near you. (Make sure you read the section that explains what documents you need to bring with you.) You can also call AARP at (888) 687-2277 to find a site near you.
For More Information, Including Free Tax Preparation Sites
Regardless of your status, all Home Care members are eligible to receive free tax preparation assistance—even if you don’t receive health benefits.
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Tax Preparation Sites: Long Island | New Jersey | Westchester