Shawnee County’s VITA program, which offers free help with filing tax returns, is seeing more people come to its sites in person than its volunteers can accommodate.

Local Program Director Susan Fangman of Shawnee County’s K State Office of Research and Extension is asking people to send or drop off their tax information instead.

VITA maintains an April 1 deadline for submitting this information, which is intended to give its volunteers time to complete the statements before the April 15 filing deadline, Fangman said.

Fewer in-person meetings due to COVID-19

VITA has long provided residents of Shawnee County with a chance to meet volunteers and watch them prepare their taxes.

VITA programs are designed to provide free tax preparation to underserved communities, especially “low-to-middle income people, people with disabilities, seniors, and limited English speakers,” the IRS website says.

Due to COVID, program volunteers last year only paid taxes for people who mailed in their information.

That has changed somewhat this year, as in-person assistance is offered at four county locations.

Still, the number of VITA volunteers available to meet people face-to-face is lower than in the past because many of the program’s volunteers are sensitive to coronavirus issues, Fangman said.

Some volunteers only do tax returns for which the information is mailed or filed, she said.

Here’s where to file or send information for tax help

Those seeking assistance from VITA can file their tax information between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday at the East Topeka VITA location at 708 SE Lime, or between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. at 1 p.m. Saturdays at the Rossville Community Library at 407 N. Main Street in Rossville.

Tax information may also be mailed to Shawnee County VITA, 4021 SW 10th Street #401, Topeka KS 66604.

While some people might be afraid to mail their tax information, the VITA program maintains a secure mailbox where their documents will be safe, Fangman said.

Here are what tax forms, documents must be submitted

Copies of the following forms and documents should be given to VITA volunteers, depending on a brochure for the program.

  • A signed Form 13614-C – the IRS Admission and Interview Form, which can be found and printed at https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f13614c.pdf.
  • A signed Form 14446 – the IRS Virtual Consent Form, which can be found and printed at https://www.shawnee.k-state.edu/family-finance/f14446.pdf.
  • A signed Form 8879 – the IRS Electronic File Signing Authorization Form, which can be filed and printed at https://www.shawnee.k-state.edu/family-finance/f8879.pdf.
  • A photocopy of the taxpayer’s government-issued photo ID (as well as that of the taxpayer’s spouse, if applicable).
  • Photocopies of social security cards, social security number verification letters, or individual tax identification number letters for the tax filer, their spouse, and any dependents born on or before December 31, 2021.
  • A photocopy of a void check if the declarant wishes to receive their declaration by direct deposit.
  • W-2 forms of all 2021 jobs.
  • All 1099 forms.
  • 1095 (health insurance forms).
  • 1098 (tuition fees).
  • Economic Impact Payment Amounts.
  • All IRS notices received in 2021 for anyone listed on the tax return, including IRS letter 6475 for 3rd EIP, IRS letter 6419 for 2021 Advanced Child Tax Credit, and any PIN numbers current protection, if applicable.
  • W-2G (Gambling revenue).
  • 2021 property tax statement or receipt if claiming Homestead credit.
  • For those who do not itemize deductions, details of all charitable donations of $300 (or $600, if filed jointly).
  • For those who itemize, details of medical expenses, including insurance; property taxes for home and vehicle; mortgage interest; and charitable donations

For more information, call VITA at 785-213-9002.

What VITA will not do

Brochure provided by Fangman says that VITA volunteers will not prepare feedback regarding:

  • Clients currently involved in bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Virtual currency.
  • Form 8615, regarding the minor’s investment income.
  • Schedule C, involving a profit or loss of a business with expenses over $35,000.
  • Complicated and advanced Schedule D, involving capital gains and losses.
  • Annex E, relating to rents and royalties.
  • Appendix F, regarding farm income and expenses.

Tim Hrenchir can be reached at [email protected] or 785-213-5934.