Program offers free income tax prep assistance in the Midlands

Program offers free income tax prep assistance in the Midlands

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Tax season is upon us once again, and the VITA program is here to help if you need a hand.

Free income tax preparation assistance is available through The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program, which is an IRS-sponsored program developed as a means for taxpayers to have their tax returns prepared free of charge.

For the eleventh year, The Cooperative Ministry will administer the VITA program in the greater Midlands. The program provides free tax preparation and filing for individuals and families with a household income of $55,000 or less. In addition to providing free tax preparation, VITA works to ensure everyone in the community receives all of the tax credits and deductions for which they are eligible.

VITA emphasizes the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Care Tax Credit, as well as tuition and other key credits. In 2018, The Cooperative Ministry’s VITA Program prepared 8,362 tax returns at sites in Richland, Lexington, Fairfield, Newberry, Sumter, Orangeburg and Clarendon counties. These refunds generated $5.6 million in refunds and taxpayers saved an estimated $900,000 in preparation fees.

For the 2019 tax season, 18 sites across the greater Midlands will be staffed by IRS-certified community volunteers who will prepare and E-file federal and state income taxes. Hours vary to accommodate any schedule.

For a complete listing of locations, call 2-1-1. Beginning Tuesday, Jan. 15, locations and times of service will be available on The Cooperative Ministry website at All VITA sites will be open Monday, Feb. 4 through Monday, April 15, 2019.

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