TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA — The Cherokee Nation is once again partnering with the IRS to offer free federal and state tax preparation that last year helped clients get a total of $2 million in tax refunds.
The tribe’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program is in its 34th year and continues to grow. Last year, the program helped 1,577 taxpayers by saving standard preparation fees by tax agencies.
To qualify for VITA, which is open to both Native and non-Native families, an individual or household must not make more than $58,000 per year and must reside within the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction.
The service is free and runs Feb. 3 through April 11.
“This program is important for low-income families so they don’t spend money on tax preparation,” said Cora Lathrop, VITA coordinator. “The Cherokee Nation volunteers to prepare families’ taxes so they get to keep more money for themselves.”
This year, 13 IRS trained and certified volunteers from Cherokee Nation’s commerce department will be preparing returns using the basic 1040 form along with necessary credit and deduction forms. All returns will be e-filed through VITA at no charge.
Participants should bring a photo ID, Social Security cards and birth dates for each person listed on the return, individual taxpayer identification numbers, W-2s, 1099s, a copy of the previous year’s tax return, documentation of deductions and bank account information for direct deposit of any refund. Additional documents may be required, depending on the return.
Volunteers will be available for assistance in Tahlequah, Pryor, Westville, Stilwell, Sallisaw, Catoosa, Claremore, Jay, Collinsville, Salina, Muskogee and Vinita.
Tax preparation can also be completed for free for those qualifying online athttp://www.myfreetaxes.com/CNCherokeeNationFSA.
For more information, call 918-453-5536.