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?
Volunteers who are IRS-certified will be able to prepare taxes for you. This program allows you to create an appointment and drop off your tax filing information 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 are not eligible for this program if:
- You are uncomfortable with the drop off method
- If your income in 2020 was more than $69,000
- If you have a small business with: expenses of more than $35,000 or a net loss, employees, inventory, and/or home office
- You operate a daycare business in your home, have farm income, and/or have rental income
- If you have out of state income; exception: IA, WI, and states with no state income tax
- If you have military income (excluding a military pension)
- If you have to file Form 1040-NR as a nonresident alien (including anyone with an F, J, M or Q visa) unless you are married to a U.S. citizen
- If you declared bankruptcy during the tax year
- If you had cancellation of debt other than (s) cancellation of nonbusiness credit card debt or (b) cancellation or forgiveness of debt on their principal residence during the tax year
- If you had rental income (including income from land rental)
- If you had K-1 income for other than interest, dividends, nte short- and long-term capital gains and losses and royalty income
The above is a list of most common out-of-scope items, but it not necessarily exhaustive.
If you are eligible, you can file taxes with an IRS-certified tax professional through your local VITA program. This year our service will be provided through a drop off model laid out below:
- Tax-payer will schedule an appointment (15 minute slot) and will arrive at their site on time and their identification will be verified with the greeter.
- All paperwork will be given to tax preparer and a discussion of when taxpayer can return to pick items will be had.
- Tax preparer will call taxpayer to verify information entered and ask any questions they may have.
- Tax preparer will call when taxes are done being prepared and arrange a pick up time with the taxpayer.
Most taxes will be prepared and filed on the same day as drop off.
Appointments will be taken starting January 18th, 2021. Please call 211 or 800-543-7709 to schedule an appointment.
Appointments can also be made by clicking here.
1. Choose time of day that works for you:
- 125 Live
- Hawthorne Education Center--the Hawthorne building is closed, so appointments will be held at the Salvation Army
- Salvation Army
- Mantorville Senior Center
- Stewartville Center for Active Adults
2. Choose time of appointment and provide identifying information.
3. Pick up or print and review documents to complete and bring to appointment.
****IF you need more than 1 year of taxes filed, make 2 appointments. If you are coming with a family member and not filing jointly, make an appointment for you and one for them.
Preparing for your appointment...
This year there will be a packet of information that must be completed BEFORE your appointment. You can pick up your appointments at the following locations:
If you have an appointment in Rochester, you can pick up a packet at any of the of the following locations...
- 125 Live
- Salvation Army-at the steps to the 1st St NE entrance
- Rochester Public Library-at the pickup windows on 2nd St when the library is open (M-Saturday 10 AM-6 PM at the drop off window near the parking ramp)
If you have an appointment in Stewartville, you can pick up a packet at:
- Center for Active Adults
If you have an appointment at the Mantorville Senior Center, you can pick up a packet at:
- Mantorville Senior Center
- Kasson HyVee
- Dodge County Government Services building in Dodge Center
If you are not planning on picking up a packet at one of the places above before your appiontment, plan to show up 15 minutes before appointment to complete the packet.
For your review, here is what you must bring to your appointment.
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 profiecient in English or can be assisted by someone who is. You're encouraged to search which filing software is right for you. Some softwares 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. Selfemployed 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 25th, 2021
- 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 $72,000 annual gross income
*You will not be charged to file and the below options
For federal taxes, please review information here: https://www.irs.gov/filing/free-file-do-your-federal-taxes-for-free
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.
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.