Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program
UPDATE: Due to high demand, our last day for accepting tax prep intakes will be March 20th.
The University of Illinois’ VITA program offers FREE tax assistance to low- to moderate-
income (gross income less than $57,000), elderly (over age 60), limited English speaking
taxpayers, and those with disabilities. It is our privilege to help residents in need prepare their tax
returns. The VITA program will be virtual this year.
To use VITA’s services, bring your tax documents to Salt & Light during VITA drop-off hours.
During this visit, a trained volunteer will conduct a brief interview, verify your identity as
required by the VITA program, and scan relevant tax documents to a secure Box folder.
Following your visit, students from the Gies Department of Accountancy, trained through the
IRS VITA program and supported by Gies faculty, will prepare your tax return in their virtual
classroom. You will receive a telephone call from the student preparation team if they have
additional questions or when they are ready to review your tax return with you. After speaking
with the preparation team and asking any questions you may have, you will be directed to return
to Salt & Light to pick up a printed copy of your tax return and sign documents authorizing the
team to file your returns electronically.
Questions? Call 217-300-4784 or email email@example.com.
WHERE DO I GO?
1819 South Philo Road//Urbana, IL 61822
WHEN CAN I BRING IN MY DOCUMENTS?
Beginning February 18th you may bring tax materials to Salt & Light between the hours of 1-7 pm on Tuesdays and between 1-5 pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. There are no tax services on Sundays or Mondays. No appointment is needed, and taxpayers will be served on a first-come first-served basis until we are full.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO COMPLETE MY RETURN?
Tax returns will be prepared on a first-come, first-served basis. Volunteers will be able to give you an estimated completion time when you bring in your materials. This will be an estimate only, and actual time to completion of the tax return could vary based on many factors.
IS MY INFORMATIONS SECURE?
We have developed a secure transmission and temporary storage system for all taxpayer-related documents. Your original documents will be returned to you after they are scanned. You will not leave any original documents with Salt & Light. Once your tax return has been prepared and submitted to the taxing authorities, all digital copies of the documents will be permanently deleted from our system.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER MY INTAKE INTERVIEW?
You will receive instructions on next steps during your initial visit to Salt & Light. When your tax return has been received by a preparation team, they may contact you via telephone, with additional questions. If they do not have questions during the preparation or quality review process, you will receive a telephone call when your return is complete. If you are able, the team will ask to set up a Zoom conference with you. This will allow you to meet the preparation team, ask questions, and see the forms on the screen while you talk through things. Zoom can be accessed from any computer, tablet, smart phone, or other device. If you are not able to participate in a Zoom conference, you will be offered a verbal review of your tax return by phone.
If the preparation team does not reach you with their call, they will leave a message to return the call at your convenience. It is important to return the call to the telephone number provided during the message – NOT to the number that shows in your caller ID. The number you will be asked to call is (217) 300-4784.
After we have reviewed your return with you, either in a Zoom conference or on a telephone call, you will be instructed to return to Salt & Light to receive a printed copy of your tax return. At Salt & Light, you will be required to sign forms authorizing us to submit your return electronically to the taxing authorities. If you choose not to file your return electronically or in the event that your return is not able to be filed electronically, you will receive printed tax forms to mail to the taxing authorities along with your printed copy of the return when you return to Salt & Light. Please note, your tax return will not be filed until you either sign forms, at Salt & Light, authorizing us to submit your return electronically or until you mail the forms to the taxing authorities if you are not filing electronically.
CAN YOU PREPARE MY 1040-NR FORM?
We are no longer preparing Form 1040-NR through the full-service VITA site. We can help you determine if you need to file Form 1040-NR or Form 1040, and we can prepare Form 1040 if it is determined that this is appropriate for you. Due to time and staffing constraints, we have made the decision to offer Form 1040-NR through our self-service site only. You may access our self-service VITA site during the sessions to be offered during March and we can help you prepare your own Form 1040-NR. You will also be eligible to use TaxSlayer software to prepare your Form 1040-NR if you utilize this service. This will allow us to serve more taxpayers with fewer volunteers and reduce the need to turn taxpayers away as has been necessary in the past.
WHO WILL BE PREPARING MY TAX RETURN?
Students from Gies College of Business’ highly ranked accounting program will work with you to prepare your tax return. Our graduate accounting students, who are especially interested in tax, will be overseeing the program. They have tax-related work/intern experience and/or have demonstrated excellent technical knowledge of tax. They have also been highly recommended by their instructors and have demonstrated exceptional leadership abilities. Guiding the program this year is Mandi Alt, an instructor of accounting who brings 20 years of tax experience to the College.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING?
- Proof of identification (photo ID)
- Social Security cards for you, your spouse, and dependents
- An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) assignment letter may be substituted for you, your spouse, and your dependents if you do not have a Social Security number
- Proof of foreign status, if applying for an ITIN
- Birth dates for you, your spouse, and dependents on the tax return
- Wage and earning statements (Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R,1099-Misc) from all employers
- Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
- Health Insurance Exemption Certificate, if received
- A copy of last year’s federal and state returns, if available
- Proof of bank account routing and account numbers for direct deposit such as a blank check
- To file taxes electronically on a married-filing-joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms
- Total paid for daycare provider and the daycare provider’s tax identifying number such as their Social Security number or business Employer Identification Number
- Forms 1095-A, B and C, Health Coverage Statements