For the tenth straight year, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont will offer free tax preparation services to qualified individuals through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program – expanding this year to two locations. Provided in partnership with Community Link and the Internal Revenue Service, this volunteer-driven program provides free tax assistance by certified tax preparers to individuals or families with an adjusted gross income of $55,000 or less in 2018.
For the first time, Goodwill is operating two VITA locations – one in Charlotte and one in Gastonia. Both locations will offer walk-in services through the week of April 13.
In Charlotte: Goodwill Opportunity Campus – 5301 Wilkinson Blvd. (Closed: March 3)
- Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
- Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
In Gastonia: Goodwill Job Connection – 116 Armstrong St.
- Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5 – 7:30 p.m.
“Over the past 10 years, Goodwill has helped thousands of people complete their tax returns though the VITA program. Last year alone, the Goodwill Opportunity Campus VITA site helped to return $763,784 in refunds to more than 600 local residents,” said Petreana Anderson, manager, centralized intake, basic needs fulfillment & partner relations at Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont. “The average tax return preparation can cost upwards of $200 – money that can be used instead to cover the cost of living such as food, rent, bills and transportation.”
To educate local taxpayers about tax benefits, including the little-known Earned Income Tax Credit, Goodwill will also host a free Tax Awareness Day on Saturday, February 23 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Goodwill Opportunity Campus. Pre-registration is not required for this event, which will offer VITA services, one-on-one financial and credit counseling, as well as educational tools from local community partners.
Goodwill encourages all taxpayers to ask their preparer about the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which provides tax breaks for some working families who earn up to $55,952 and can provide refunds of up to $6,557. The IRS estimates one in five eligible workers do not claim the EITC each year because they’re unaware of the credit, cannot afford costly tax preparation fees or fear they will lose public benefits by filing – dollars that ultimately go unclaimed.
To see if you qualify for free tax preparation, or to learn more, call (704) 761-VITA (8482) Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. or visit goodwillsp.org/about-us/vita/, where you can also see the necessary documentation to bring with you.