Low- and moderate-income households have two free tax filing options!
Thousands of low-income households access this necessary service for free, improving access to tax credits and bringing dollars back into our community in the form of tax refunds.
The VITA Program is brought to you by partnering sponsors 125 Live and Salvation Army to provide free tax preparation services for taxpayers in Olmsted and Dodge Counties (participating sites listed below). United Way's 211 is proud to serve as your appointment scheduling hub.
Due to IRS regulations, we are unable to provide other tax preparation service recommendations. Thank you for your understanding.
Which free filing option is right for me?
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance
Volunteers who are IRS-certified will be able to assist in preparing your taxes alongside you. This is a free service available to Olmsted and Dodge county residents who meet the eligibility requirements below. You must complete an intake packet before your appointment.
Property Tax and Renter Rebate only appointments: We are asking that you please wait until mid-March to schedule as you must have your 'Certificate of Rent Paid' form or your 'Property Tax Statement Payable' at the time of your appointment.
The deadline for filing the MN Rent Rebate/Property Tax forms is August 15, so we would like to keep all earlier appointments available for income tax filers.
We are not able to recommend any other tax preparation services. Thank you for your understanding.
You are not eligible for this program if ANY of the following are true:
- Your adjusted gross income is in excess of $80,000
- You own rental property (ie, you are the landlord)
- You had small business income that has any of the following:
- payments to independent contractors
- a loss for the year
- you maintain inventory
- total expenses over $35,000
- hobby or "not-for-profit" income
- business use of home
- You were not a full year resident of MN for tax purposes
- You have military income (excluding a military pension)
- You had non-cash charitable contribution of over $500
- You had a Self-employed SEP, SIMPLE or qualified plan
- You had nondeductible IRAs
- You were a nonresident alien who does not meet the green card or substantial presence test and are not married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien
- You were a student on an F, J, M, or Q Visa or a teacher or trainee on a J Visa
- You, or your personal representative, is unable to come to the tax site
The above is a list of most common out-of-scope items but is not necessarily exhaustive.
The above is a partial list of areas we are not trained in. If you have an unusual item, please note the item when you schedule your appointment. You can also see this IRS video for other filing options.
- Appointment scheduling will begin mid-January for appointments beginning February 1.
- Please call 211 or 800-543-7709 to schedule an appointment.
- 211 is available for appointment scheduling 24 hours a day/7 days a week/365 days a year, in 100 different languages.
- Interpreters are available.
- No same-day appointments.
Preparing for your appointment...
Appointments are 45 minute slots, but your appointment can take up to 3 hours. Please arrive at the appointment site on time and fully prepared. You are encouraged to wear a mask but it is not required at VITA sites.
Taxpayers can pick up intake packets at one of the following locations:
Salvation Army - 115 1st Ave NE, at the "Red Building" different from the appointment site
125 Live - inside the upper-level front door when the building is open
Bethel Lutheran Church - In the main lobby when the building is open
Mantorville Senior Citizen Center - there will be a container in front of the building
Stewartville Center for Active Adults - inside the north entry door to the Center for Active Adults when the building is open
Dodge Center Public Library
Intake forms should be filled out before you come to the appointment, if you have NOT gotten an intake packet, you must arrive at their appointment at least 15 minutes early to fill out all necessary paperwork required to be prepared for your appointment
Most taxes will be done on the same day. If not, you will need to make another appointment
What to bring to your appointment:
- What to Bring (English)
- Liiska Diyaarinta Canshuurta/What to Bring (Somali)
- Lista para la preparación de impuestos/What to Bring (Spanish)
VITA's list of what to bring to your appointment:
- Completed Intake forms (One set of forms for each tax year being filed)
- Photo ID for you (and spouse, if applicable)
- Last year’s tax return (or most recent return filed)
- Social security or ITIN (tax ID #) cards for all in family EXCEPT...
- In the event that VITA did your return last year and all family members are listed on that return.
- Check or card/statement from bank listing routing number and account number to use for direct deposit of refund.
- W-2s and any tip information
- 1099-SSA – has pink box showing total social security amount received for the year before Medicare subtraction (if lost, call 877-405-3631 to obtain); this document can also serve as SSN verification
- 1099-INT or bank statement showing 2023 interest when less than $10
- 1099-DIV – dividends received during the year
- 1099-R – IRA or pension retirement income for the year
- 1099-G – unemployment compensation received
- 1098-T – Scholarship Income
- 1095-A - Health Insurance information when purchased through MN Sure
- Charitable contributions made during the year
- If a homeowner who wants to itemize deductions on federal return – bring taxes paid, medical expenses paid and health insurance paid.
- Documentation of any other income of any kind received during the year
- Closing statement if bought or sold a home
- Any letter from the IRS or MN Department of Revenue
If filing for MN rent rebate or homestead credit refund, bring the following:
- 2023 Certificate of Rent Paid forms received from landlord
- Property tax statement for taxes payable in 2024 (if a homeowner)
- Documentation of total of nontaxable income received during the tax year, such as the following:
- SSI (Supplemental Security Income); if don’t have a letter showing total for tax year, go to Social Security office (2443 Clare Ln NE) or call 877-405-3631 to have a letter mailed to you
- County cash assistance: if lost the letter they send in January showing the total of cash benefits received during the year, call county case worker for a copy
- Veterans Benefits
- If a homeowner, bring information about the income of other person living in home (unless they are a dependent or parent)
A list of these items can also be found on the SE Minnesota VITA website: https://www.semntaxes.org/taxpayers/required-documents
No Contact Income Tax Filing
To file taxes online, you must be comfortable using a computer and internet.
Filing online can be simple and easy if you have all of the necessary documents. Online filing options will prompt you to enter information and will guide you through questions to file your taxes on your own. This option is best for people who have access to a computer, can operate a computer or can be assisted by someone who can, and are proficient in English or can be assisted by someone who is. You're encouraged to search which filing software is right for you. Some software may have small fees associated.
There are many options to file your taxes online, either through the Minnesota Department of Revenue or other independent software options.
• Simple tax situations covered for free in MyFreeTaxes include: W-2 income; limited interest and dividend income reported on a 1099-INT or 1099-DIV; student education expenses, credits or student loan interest; unemployment income; claiming the standard deduction; EITC; child tax credits; child and dependent care expenses.
• Unfortunately, MyFreeTaxes no longer provides a free return to filers who are self-employed. Self-employed filers will need to report all of their income and expenses on a Schedule C form, which is not included in the MyFreeTaxes software. If you are self-employed, and wish to use MyFreeTaxes to file your taxes, you will only be charged $24.99 for a federal return and $18.50 for each state return (a 50% discount).
• You can easily file your taxes using MyFreeTaxes.com from your mobile phone, tablet or computer. It’s easy to use; just upload a picture of your W-2 to autofill your information. It guides you through the process to guarantee you get your maximum refund.
• Most filers complete their taxes in under one hour and save an average of $200 in fees by using MyFreeTaxes instead of a paid tax preparer
**A help line is available at: 866-698-9435 starting Late January, 2023
- A virtual VITA program
- Work with a VITA volunteer located remotely in another part of the USA
- The same eligibility aspects apply from our local VITA program
Other online options:
*Free filing online includes an income cap of $73,000 annual gross income
*You will not be charged to file and the below options
You can also see this IRS video for other filing options.
For federal taxes, please review information here: https://www.irs.gov/filing/free-file-do-your-federal-taxes-for-free
Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN)
The IRS has announced changes to the ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number) program. Certain ITIN numbers that have not been used in the last few years and/or have specific middle digits will be expiring and you must apply for a new ITIN before filing your upcoming taxes. Please review the IRS changes here in preparation for filing your taxes.
Tax Scam Information
The Minnesota Department of Revenue is warning taxpayers of a recent over-the-phone caller ID spoofing scam. Taxpayers should beware of phone calls from scammers claiming to be from the IRS or the department who demand immediate payment of tax debts. In some cases, the scammers use caller ID spoofing where the phone numbers they call from are made to look like they are coming from the IRS or the department.
According to the FCC, caller ID "spoofing" occurs when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity. Spoofing is often used as part of an attempt to trick someone into giving away valuable personal information so it can be used for illegal activity, such as filing for a fraudulent tax refund.
When contacting you the department will not:
- Demand immediate payment without first mailing a letter.
- Demand that you pay taxes and not allow you to question or appeal the amount you owe.
- Require that you pay your taxes a certain way. For instance, require that you pay with a prepaid debit card.
- Threaten to call the police or other law enforcement agencies to arrest you for not paying.
Use caution and NEVER provide personal information unless you are absolutely sure the situation is legitimate.
More information about these types of scams can be found on the IRS website.