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VITA Lowcountry
FREE Tax Preparation Services
for 2020 Tax Returns

Services available through April 13, 2021. Three sites open until early May.  See LOCATIONS page for details.

LIMITED In-Person Service (ends April 13 except as noted on LOCATIONS page)

Alternatives combine in-person, drop-off and virtual process

With the support of our traditional site partners, and in accordance with the CDC health and safety guidelines, the Lowcountry Area VITA Coalition is pleased to announce some of our sites are able to offer LIMITED in-person services through April 12 (Click Here for site locations.) with three sites providing services through early May.

At these sites, you wait outside or in your car during the tax preparation process.  A few sites also have developed a drop-off process, where you leave your documents with us and return to the site to review and sign.   See “Locations” for places, days, times and type of service available.

Virtual Tax Prep (ends April 10)

FREE Tax Preparation Services from the Comfort and Safety of your Home!

The Lowcountry Area VITA Coalition has partnered with the IRS and Code for America to offer access to our volunteer IRS-certified VITA Tax Preparers through GetYourRefund.org in order to break down barriers to tax filing by providing services that are free, trustworthy, easy to work through and accessible.

You will answer simple questions about your situation, securely take pictures of your tax documents, and get connected with VITA Lowcountry’s IRS-certified Tax Preparers to answer their questions. The VITA team will remotely prepare your tax return, speak with you to review your return, and e-File the return with your consent. It’s FREE tax filing, with real human support.

GetYourRefund is a non-profit service built by Code for America in partnership with IRS-certified Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites nationally. Code for America is a non-profit technology organization dedicated to making government work for the people that need it most.

Who Qualifies for Virtual Tax Preparation with VITA Lowcountry?

South Carolina residents in Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton, Colleton, Allendale, Barnwell, and Bamberg counties.

Those with an adjusted gross income of $66,000 or less, if filing single or $120,000 if filing jointly. However, there is NO income limit for those age 60 or above. Also special exceptions for those with disabilities and those with limited English proficiency.

When you are answering questions in the GetYourRefund.org/vitalowcountry website, the system will ask you whether you income is above $66,000. Skip that question. DO NOT CHECK THE BOX that says “my income is more than $66,000.” if you otherwise qualify for Lowcountry VITA’s services. Just click next and you will proceed on to the next question.

See more comprehensive guidelines here.

How Will VITA Services Work for the 2021 Tax Season?

How Does GetYourRefund.org Work?

We have partnered with GetYourRefund.org, an IRS-approved program with a secure website where you can easily take pictures of your documents and upload them to the secure server using a phone, tablet or computer. Then the same local VITA volunteers you have come to know and trust, with will contact you to prepare the return. Click here for details.

How Does VALET VITA Work?

At VALET VITA, our volunteers will personally assist you with answering questions and uploading your tax documents at designated site locations and times. Our VITA volunteers working from their homes will then prepare your return. You will be contacted with any questions and for a final review your tax return. Upon approval and consent, you will sign electronically, and be provided an electronic copy through email.

Will There Be Any Other In-Person Tax Services for 2021?

Our preference is always to see each and every one of our clients, year after year! Like you, our VITA volunteers prefer the comprehensive, start-to-finish, face-to-face tax return preparation services! However, your health, safety, and well-being, and that of our volunteers, is too important to risk. Please know that we will be tirelessly working behind the scenes to assess all viable options as this 2021 tax season unfolds. Please continue to check back for any updates.

Frequently Asked Questions

The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act) and the COVID-related Tax Relief Act provides two payments. The first was issued beginning in Spring/Summer and individuals received up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per child, depending on your income level. The second was issued beginning in late December and individuals receive up to $600 per person and $600 per eligible child.  If you did not receive either the first or second payment you can claim a credit for the amount on your tax return.  Click here for details about the Recovery Rebate Credit.   If you aren’t sure what payments you received, you can look up this information on the IRS website (click here).  When we prepare your return, know in advance if you received a first and second payment and how much they were.  Your VITA Tax Specialist will be able to determine if you received the correct amount and will include any request for additional credit on your 2020 tax return.

If you did not file a 2018 or 2019 return, you must file a 2020 tax return in order to receive your stimulus payments.

Short answer: YES.

Because of the new Economic Stimulus checks that were approved in late December, IRS had to push back the date they begin accepting 2020 tax returns to give them adequate time to process the stimulus checks. So you can prepare your tax return, but it cannot be electronically filed until February 12.

DO NOT FILE BY MAIL – this is not an alternative solution (unless you are not eligible for some rare reason to electronically file).  Paper returns are still being processed that were filed during 2020, so filing by mail will cause even more delays.

If you are using our service and all your tax documents are available, revisit our website close to February 12 to start the online process at GetYourRefund.org. 

Hopefully, 10 days to 2 weeks after you electronically file, the earliest filing date being February 12, 2021.  Those who claim additional child tax credit or earned income credit will experience an additional delay and will receive refunds beginning the first week of March.

Best source for question about the first economic stimulus payments (those issued Spring/Summer 2020).

https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center

 

Best source for questions about the second economic stimulus payments (issued in December 2020 and January 2021)

https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/second-eip-faqs

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