The Cherokee Nation will begin scheduling appointments this month to help income-eligible families prepare their state and federal income taxes for free.
Partnering with the IRS, the tribe’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program has served eligible families’ tax needs for more than 30 years, and last year alone saved more than 1,700 families an average of $400 in tax fees.
“Preparing taxes can be an intimidating and expensive responsibility for our citizens,” said Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. “This program not only alleviates those issues but provides an opportunity for one-on-one tax preparation, which ensures that both federal and state paperwork are completed correctly and timely.”
VITA is operated by the Cherokee Nation Commerce Services and is open to both Native and non-Native families whose household income does not exceed $60,000 annually. The program not only allows citizens to have their state and federal income tax returns filed for free, it gives them a chance to discuss their options one-on-one.
Appointments can be made starting Jan. 16 at 13 tax prep sites, including Tahlequah, Pryor, Westville, Stilwell, Sallisaw, Catoosa, Claremore, Jay, Salina, Muskogee, Vinita, Ochelata and Nowata. This year, walk-ins will also be accepted at the Tahlequah and Westville sites.
To use the service, families must provide a photo ID, Social Security card and birth date for each person listed on the return; individual taxpayer identification numbers; W-2s, 1099s; a copy of the previous year’s tax return; documentation of deductions; and bank account information for direct deposit. Additional documents may be required.
Commerce Services also recommends that individuals or families with less than $66,000 income prepare their own federal and state taxes online at http://www.myfreetaxes.com.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 918-453-5536.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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