Friday, 27 May 2022

NCO’s free tax prep returns Feb. 1

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program Wade and Gayle. Photo courtesy of North Coast Opportunities.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — NCO Volunteer Network’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, or VITA, returns on Feb. 1, providing free tax preparation to Lake and Mendocino County households that made $66,000 or less in 2021.

This year, there is no appointment necessary. Taxpayers may simply drop by one of NCO’s sites to submit their documents and receive a consultation. All COVID-19 precautions will be taken, and masks will be required.

Ukiah: Fridays and Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m.
North Coast Opportunities
413 N. State St.

Lakeport: Tuesdays and Thursdays, noon to 5 p.m.
North Coast Opportunities
850 Lakeport Blvd.

Clearlake: Wednesdays and Fridays, noon to 4 p.m.
Highlands Senior Center
3245 Bowers Ave.

Fort Bragg: Wednesdays, Feb. 9 and 23, March 6 and 23, and April 14 from noon to 4 p.m.
North Coast Opportunities
111A Boatyard Drive

Taxpayers should bring the following documentation to an NCO site:
• Photo IDs for taxpayer and their spouse
• Social Security cards or ITINs for each person on the return. Proof of US citizenship is not required to receive tax preparation assistance.
• W-2s, 1099s, and all other tax forms.
• Bank routing & account numbers for direct deposit returns.
• Taxpayer’s 2020 tax return
• A completed 13514-C Intake Sheet (available to download at www.volunteernco.org or at each NCO site)

IRS-certified VITA volunteers will be standing by to assist with state and federal returns, W-2 forms, self-employment income, certain itemized deductions, and credits, including the expanded Child Tax Credit.

Parents who received the monthly Child Tax Credit payments last year are eligible for an additional $1,500-$1,800 per child if they file their 2021 tax return.

For a full list of returns that VITA will and will not prepare, visit www.volunteernco.org.

“Even if you don’t think you need to file taxes you might still get money back,” said Kayla Harrison, VITA Program Coordinator. “We are happy to talk to anyone who walks up about their situation to see if they qualify.”

“Even dependents who have a job are eligible to file their returns with us,” added Yvett Magallon, NCO Volunteer Network Project Coordinator.

For more than 10 years, NCO Volunteer Network’s VITA has been the lead in Lake and Mendocino Counties for the United Way of California Earn It! Keep It! Save it! program which puts millions of dollars in tax returns into the pockets of low-income families each year.

In 2021, VITA helped families secure $394,000 in earned tax refunds and saved them more than $78,000 in filing fees.

“We ensure that our clients maximize their refund from their tax return by claiming tax benefits for taxpayers and their families,” said Magallon. “This is earned income that allows more dollars to flow into our community that residents can use for groceries, rent, utilities and other bills.”

VITA is also recruiting volunteer Spanish/English interpreters and certified IRS tax preparer volunteers who are comfortable with computers. Contact Kayla at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to sign up.

For those confident in preparing their own taxes, the resource MyFreeTaxes.org is available. My Free Taxes is an easy online tool operated by United Way of California that helps individuals file their state and federal taxes for free. This site offers step-by-step guidance for filing taxes as well as personal help through email or online chat. The 2021 household income limit to use this online service is $73,000 and those who are self-employed are not eligible.

For more information on VITA free tax preparation, please call 707-467-3236 and leave a message with your name and number or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

NCO is the Community Action Agency that serves Lake and Mendocino Counties, as well as parts of Humboldt, Sonoma, Del Norte, and Solano Counties. NCO reacts and adjusts to community needs, including disaster response and recovery. For more information visit www.ncoinc.org or call 707-467-3200.

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