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Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

Free Income Tax Preparation & E-file by IRS Certified Volunteers

VITA is closed for this tax season, but will return for the next tax season in late January 2022!

Federal and Georgia Income Tax Returns

VITA is closed for this tax season, but will return for the next tax season in late January 2022!

The School of Accountancy at Georgia Southern University and the IRS have partnered to bring the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) to the local community.  This is an annual partnership to provide free individual income tax preparation and e-file services to taxpayers.  All tax returns are prepared and reviewed by accounting students and faculty who are IRS VITA certified.  The service is generally available to taxpayers with household income of $68,000 or less. 

If you have any questions, please email vita@georgiasouthern.edu

Due to COVID-19, we have modified our process this filing season:

Step 1:  Visit one of our drop-off sites listed below.  We operate on a first come, first served basis.  You will need to bring all of your required items and information to the drop-off site.  Please see the list of required items below.  A VITA certified volunteer will make copies of your information for tax preparation purposes and return all of your original documents back to you.  Next, the volunteer will go over the intake/interview form with you to ensure all required information is received to prepare your taxes.  It is recommended that you arrive as early as possible, due to the limited number of taxpayers we can serve during each session. Taxpayers arriving late may need to return on another day. 

Step 2:  Your taxes will be prepared on Wednesday evenings by certified volunteers at the Georgia Southern University campus.  A volunteer will contact you on a Wednesday evening by phone, sometime between 5:00 PM – 7:45 PM.  The volunteer may ask questions if information is missing or for clarifications that are necessary to complete your tax return.  The volunteer will also provide the amount of your refund or amount due.  Finally, the volunteer will confirm a pick-up time for you to return to the drop-off site to pick up the copies of your documents, copy of your tax return, and sign the e-file authorization form (if applicable).

Step 3:  Return to the drop-off site after receiving a call from one of our certified volunteers.  When you return to the drop-off site, you will pick up the copies of your documents, copy of your tax return, and sign the e-file authorization form (if applicable).  You will also be able to fully review your return and ask any questions before signing the e-file authorization form.

Drop-off Sites:

For the safety of our volunteers and the local community, masks and social distancing are required at all of the drop-off sites. All Georgia Southern faculty, staff, students, and visitors are required to wear an appropriate face covering while inside campus facilities/buildings because six feet social distancing may not always be possible. Face covering use will be in addition to, and is not a substitute for, social distancing.

Below is a list of items you will need to bring to the drop-off site.

       Required Identification and Other Items:

  • Photo Identification for you (and your spouse, if filing a joint return)
    Acceptable photo IDs include government-issued ID and school ID
  • For married filing joint, BOTH the taxpayer and spouse must be present at pick-up to sign the tax return
  • Social security cards (or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number ITIN document) for you, your spouse, and all dependents
  • Birthdates for you, your spouse, and dependents
  • For direct deposit of refund, proof of taxpayer bank routing number and account number (such as a check)
  • Form 1095-A (if you have Marketplace Health Insurance)
  • A copy of last year’s tax return, if available
  • Important for college students:  You will need to know whether your parent(s) or guardian will claim you as a dependent or if you are considered independent.  This may impact your tax return and your parent’s tax return.
  • Amount of the first and second Economic Impact Payment (“Stimulus Payment”) received
    (IRS Notice 1444 and 1444-B will show the amounts you received)

Common Income Items:

  • Wages, Form W-2 for all employers
  • Retirement income such as social security statement SSA-1099 and/or 1099-R
  • Independent contractor income, such as 1099-NEC
  • 1099-G if you received any unemployment income (you can access your Georgia Department of Labor account online to find this information, if needed)
  • Information for any other type of income (interest income, dividend income, stock sales, etc.)
  • Any other 1099s received

Common Deduction and Tax Credit Items:

  • Mortgage interest, Form 1098
  • Real estate taxes paid
  • Charitable contributions
  • College education expenses, Form 1098-T
  • Student loan interest, Form 1098-E
  • Documentation from childcare provider showing total paid and the provider’s tax ID number and address

Certain tax situations are out of scope with the VITA program.  We cannot prepare tax returns for the following situations:

  • Self-employment (Schedule C) with a loss, total expenses over $35,000, depreciation, and/or business use of home
  • Complicated capital gains and losses (Schedule D)
  • Rental property (Schedule E)
  • Farm Profit or Loss (Schedule F)
  • And other situations determined out of scope based on IRS VITA guidelines

Please note, due to IRS certification requirements and limitations at our site this tax season:

  • We are only able to prepare Federal and Georgia (full-year resident) individual income tax returns
  • We are not able to prepare 1040-NR U.S. Nonresident  Alien Income Tax Returns
  • We are not currently able to prepare tax returns for military or internationals, but these services may be added in future tax seasons

Last updated: 4/8/2021