Free Tax Preparation

Did you know you can file your taxes for FREE? Last year United Way Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) partners filed over 17,000 tax returns for low-income families and seniors with the help of 527 IRS-trained volunteers. This included tax refunds of over $22 million for families in the St. Louis Metro Area.

The volunteers make sure each tax filer receives all of the tax credits that they qualify for, like the Earned Income Tax Credit, which can be up to $6,728 for working families with children. Do you have questions about the Advance Child Tax Credit for 2021? Volunteer tax preparers can help.

Click here to see the list of VITA sites in the St. Louis Metro Area that will be doing free tax preparation. 

DO YOU QUALIFY?

Your household income must have been less than $58,000 last year to qualify for free tax preparation. Simply dial 2-1-1 to learn if you qualify or to find the nearest tax preparation site.

 

HOW IT WORKS

  • Call 2-1-1 (1.800.427.4626) or go to 211helps.org to get information about the tax sites, how to make an appointment or find a walk-in location.
  • By Appointment! Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many free tax sites will not be taking walk-ins. Please make an appointment or check for available walk-in locations.
  • The 211 operators will assist you in finding the tax site most convenient for you and will give you a phone number to call to make an appointment. Each tax site has its own special number to call.
  • IRS certified volunteers prepare and e-file your federal and state tax returns for FREE!
  • Receive your refund more quickly when you take advantage of FREE, fast direct deposit.
  • You may qualify to receive up to $6,728 cash back when you claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This is a tax credit for working families that meet specific income requirements. Make sure to bring your 2019 tax return if you are claiming the EITC. You might be eligible for a higher amount for 2021.
  • Families that had a reduction in income this year may qualify for the tax credit where they may never have received the tax credit before.
  • The EITC is designed to help lower taxes and increase income for working families in lower tax brackets.
  • See if you qualify for the EITC: https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/individuals/earned-income-tax-credit/do-i-qualify-for-earned-income-tax-credit-eitc.
  • Did you get the Advanced Child Tax Credit payments? Families with children who were not required to file taxes in 2021 may be eligible for up to $3,600 per child.
  • To see if you qualify, use the IRS Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant at https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/advance-child-tax-credit-eligibility-assistant.
  • IRS-certified volunteers will also work with families who received the Advanced Child Tax Credit payments to ensure they file for the credit correctly and receive the maximum possible refund.

WHAT YOU NEED TO BRING

  • All W-2s and 1099s
  • Social Security Cards or Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) for all family members
  • Valid picture ID for taxpayer and spouse (Driver’s License, State ID, Passport)
  • If married and filing jointly, both spouses must be present to sign
  • Copy of 2020 tax return. Also bring copy of 2019 tax return if claiming EITC or Advanced Child Tax Credit. You may be able to claim a higher amount for 2021.
  • 1098 or real estate tax receipt
  • Proof of unemployment compensation
  • A copy of a voided check or bank account and routing numbers for direct deposit
  • Proof of child care expenses
  • Parcel number (Illinois homeowners only)
  • Form 1095-A: proof of health insurance from the market place

 

 WHAT WE PREPARE 

  • Form 1040
  • With schedule B, C ($25,000 limit), EIC & R
  • Form 1040 – V
  • Form 1040 – ES
  • Form 2441 (Child and dependent care credit)
  • Form 8863 (Education credits)
  • Form 8812 (Additional child tax credit)

 

 ADDITIONAL RESOURCES 

If you have a simple return and feel comfortable using a computer, the United Way Worldwide’s My Free Taxes. Go to www.MyFreeTaxes.com to learn more.

Do you have a bank account? Do not let the pandemic stop you from getting your tax refund faster with direct deposit to a bank account. You can open an account online with no overdraft fees. To learn more, go to https://www.moneysmartstlouis.org/affordable-banking/.

Tax Time Savings: Tax time is a great time to save. Consider setting money aside in an emergency fund for unexpected expenses.