Finish your taxes with Johnson County’s free assistance

Johnson County's tax assistance services will be available through Apr. 13 -- photo by  John Morgan
Johnson County’s tax assistance services will be available through Apr. 13 — photo by John Morgan

Tax season is reaching its peak and Johnson County is here to help with free assistance offered in Iowa City and North Liberty through Apr. 13 — right before this year’s Apr. 18 filing deadline.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA), which celebrated its 10th year of services last week, offers a series of tax clinics at different times. In the coming weeks, student volunteers from UI’s Tippie College of Business are providing free tax preparation services to those who earned less than $55,000 in 2015 at two locations:

Iowa City Public Library (123 South Linn St.)

Saturdays, Apr. 2 and 9 (11 a.m.-5 p.m.)
Sundays, Mar. 27, Apr. 3 and 10 (12:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.)
Mondays, Apr. 4 and 11 (5:45 p.m.-8:45 p.m.)
Tuesday, Apr. 12 (5:45 pm to 8:45 p.m.)
Wednesdays, Mar. 23 and 30, Apr. 6 and 13 (5:45 pm to 8:45 pm)

Garner Elementary (80 Birch Ct., North Liberty)

Mondays, Mar. 21 and 28 (6 p.m.-9 p.m.)

There are some restrictions on the service in addition to income. It’s not available to the self-employed if your business expenses totaled more than $5,000, or if you have farm income or received a lump sum distribution of your entire amount from your pension plan. Complete information on eligibility, what to bring with you and interpretation services is available on Johnson County’s Social Services website.

A press release noted that in 2015, VITA’s volunteer tax preparers filed 1,054 returns for Johnson County residents, culminating in $1,677,761 in refunds. VITA focuses on helping people file for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a benefit for those with low to moderate incomes that often goes unclaimed. According to Johnson County Social Services Coordinator Lynette Jacoby, claiming the EITC boosts the local economy by reducing tax burdens and supplementing income.

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