Tax Help

Free Tax Preparation

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.

Which free filing option is right for me?

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

Volunteers who are IRS-certified will be able to prepare taxes for you. This program allows you to create an appointment and bring your tax information with you to be prepared and filed by a volunteer. This is a free service available to Olmsted and Dodge county residents who meet the eligibility requirements. You must complete an intake packet before your appointment. If you do not complete this intake packet before your appointment, you must complete it in your car or outside as there are no waiting areas available at our sites. 

Filing Information

You are not eligible for this program if ANY of the following are true:

  • You do not plan to wear a mask for your appointment
  • Your adjusted gross income is in excess of $75,000
  • You own rental property (ie, you are the landlord)
  • K-1 income unless it is interest, dividends and royalties - these types are approved
  • Small business income if that business has any of the following:
    • employees
    • 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
    • depreciation
  • Income from states other than Minnesota, Iowa, or Wisconsin unless that state does not have an income tax (e.g. South Dakota is ok)
  • You have gain from the sale of assets other than stocks and mutual funds (e.g. sale of land, options or virtual currency are out of scope)
  • Non-cash charitable contribution of over $500
  • Farm income (or loss)
  • Self-employed SEP, SIMPLE and qualified plans
  • Cancellation of debt income other than personal credit card debt or qualified principal residence indebtedness
  • Nondeductible IRAs
  • Nonresident aliens who do not meet the green card or substantial presence test and are not married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien
  • Students on an F, J, M, or Q Visa or Teachers or Trainees on a J Visa
  • You, or your personal representative, are unable to come to the tax site
  • 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.

The above is a list of most common out-of-scope items, but it not necessarily exhaustive.

Appointment Information

  • Appointments are available now (limited days times based on site locations). Please call 211 or 800-543-7709 to schedule an appointment. 
  • Appointments can also be made by clicking here.
  • For more information about the VITA program go to https://www.semntaxes.org/home
  • Interpreters are available. To request an interpreter you must type in the gender of taxpayer and language needed in the note section when scheduling the appointment or call 211 to schedule an appointment and request an interpreter. Another option is to bring a trusted family member or friend to provide interpretation at the tax appointments.

Preparing for your appointment... 

  1. Appointments are 45 minute slots. Please arrive at appointment site on time. You must wear a mask at all sites and proof of vaccination required at 125 Live.

  1. 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 main office at the information desk (when building is open) - If you have an appointment at 125 Live, please pick up your intake forms at 125 Live.
    • Hawthorne Center - in the main office (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
       
  2. 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 around 15 minutes early to fill out all necessary paperwork 

  1. All paperwork will be given to tax preparer and there will be face to face discussions with taxpayer, but they may ask you to leave (to limit contact) and come back to pick up your completed tax forms. At some site locations because of Covid-19 precautions, and protection of taxpayers and volunteers.

  1. Most taxes will be done on the same day if not you will have to make another appointment 

For your review, here is what you must bring to your appointment.

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.

MyFreeTaxes:

• 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 January 24th, 2022

https://www.myfreetaxes.com/

The MyFreeTaxes Clinics at Rochester Public Library are CANCELLED. In order to mitigate Covid-19 infections we are not having in-person clinics. You can still file your taxes for FREE or low-cost at MyFreeTaxes.com (in Spanish MyFreeTaxes) and have your taxes prepared online with assistance for taxpayers you make less than $58,000 annually.

GetYourRefund:

  • 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

English: https://www.getyourrefund.org/en  

Spanish: https://www.getyourrefund.org/es

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. 

Online Tax Information Resources

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.