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Virtual free tax prep picking up for July 15 deadline

Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 6:47 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Two weeks stand between you and the July 15 tax deadline. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Center for Civic Engagement is offering the virtual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program to families in the low-to moderate-income ranges.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or VITA, has been going on for over 30 years but had never been virtual. In mid-March UNL closed its sites, in turn, also closing face-to-face VITA sites.

Now that VITA is virtual, they are serving people in Lincoln, Columbus, Grand Island and Norfolk.

“That money is going where it needs to go, back to the taxpayer, back to the community member,” said Katie McGuire, a member of the VITA staff. “They can use it rather than pay a preparer for it.”

This is how it works. Taxpayers schedule an appointment, supply their name, phone number and email address and agree to have their tax return prepared virtually. They then upload necessary documents and work with a volunteer who prepares the return, and gets the signature from the taxpayer. The entire process takes nearly a week.

McGuire said this program will likely continue; they’ve already filed taxes for 50 people, and are ready to help the next group of people.

“We think this is going to be a great option for people, especially for those who may not have free volunteer tax help nearby, may not be as mobile or who simply prefer the comfort and security of home, rather than sitting down with someone in-person,” said Linda Moody, UNL, Center for Civic Engagement. “The process is built on a foundation of confidentiality, security and safety for all.”

To register, visit https://vita.unl.edu/signup/ or email vita@unl.edu with any questions.

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