VOLUNTEER INCOME TAX ASSISTANCE
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The Child Tax Credit has changed for the 2021 tax year. Taxpayers should expect to receive a total of $3,000 total per child ages 6-17 and $3,600 total per child under 6 years old for each child they intend to claim on their 2021 tax return.
Half of this credit will be paid out early as monthly payments of $250-$300, starting in mid-July 2021. Monthly payments will continue through December 2021, at which time half of the credit will have been paid out and the second half will need to be claimed on the 2021 tax return. The IRS plans to send out letters for each of the monthly payments. We recommend holding onto those letters for your 2021 taxes to verify which payments you receive.
- Income Requirements: $75,000 for a single filer / $112,500 for head of household / $150,000 for married filer. If your household income is higher, you may still receive some payments.
- Social Security Number: Children must have a social security number to be eligible. Parents and guardians do not need a SSN to receive payment and can file with a ITIN.
Missing Child Tax Credit Payments?
If you did not have income in 2020, visit GetCTC.org for assistance.
If you did have income in 2020, we recommend e-filing in February 2022. (Paper filing is available right now, but due to a IRS backlog, e-filing in February will likely be a faster option.) Check back to our VITA website for more information about how to e-file at that time. Any payment not received can be reconciled on the 2021 tax return – be sure to keep documents relating to any payments you do receive.
Keep in mind: The IRS doesn’t initiate contact by email, text messages, or social media channels to request personal or financial information – even information related to advance Child Tax Credit payments. Also, watch out for emails with attachments or links claiming to have special information about advance Child Tax Credit payments or refunds of the Child Tax Credit.
- Child Tax Credit Flyer UWTSA – English and Spanish
- 2021 Child Tax Credit Social Media – UWTSA
- The Child Tax Credit – What You Need To Know
Commonly Asked Questions
What do I need to bring to have my taxes done at a VITA site?
- Both spouses, if filing jointly
- Picture ID for taxpayer (and spouse, if filing jointly)
- Social security card (or acceptable alternative - see below) for each person listed on the return
- Proof of income, like W2s and 1099s
- Documentation of expenses
- If anyone in the household is insured through the Marketplace, Form 1095-A and dependents' proof of income
- Account and routing numbers for direct deposit of refunds
- Prior year tax return
Acceptable Alternatives for Social Security Card:
- Photocopy or photograph of Social Security card
- ITIN letter
- Social Security Benefit Statement (Form 1099-SSA)
- Military ID with Social Security number
- Any document issued by the Social Security Administration with Social Security number - last four digits must be visible
- A print-out from mySocialSecurity with the last four digits of your Social Security number visible
Please note: Per IRS regulations, a return cannot be prepared without the required documents. Prior year tax returns do NOT satisfy document requirements.
How is using VITA different than going to a paid preparer?
There are many ways in which VITA differs from paid preparation. We invite you to try VITA and see for yourself!
- VITA tax preparation is completely free and saves filers an average of $250 per return.
- VITA tax preparers have completed extensive training and are IRS certified - this certification is not required for paid preparers in the state of Arizona.
- Each completed return undergoes a separate review process to ensure quality and accuracy.
- VITA never offers predatory lending options, such as "instant refunds" or "refund anticipation loans."
- VITA can connect filers to banking services for direct deposit of tax refunds, even for individuals in ChexSystems.
- VITA can connect filers to savings programs, such as SaveYourRefund, to make the most of their refunds.
- VITA can connect filers to healthcare education and enrollment assistance from certified assisters, at no cost to the filer.
What types of returns can be prepared through VITA?
VITA can handle most returns, including those with self-employment and/or investment income. However, some returns are considered out-of-scope, per IRS regulations. Taxpayers with out-of-scope returns may still be eligible to use free do-it-yourself software.
Returns with any of the following cannot be prepared through VITA:
- Income/loss from rental property
- Active military pay
- Moving expenses
- Household employees
- Farm income/loss
- Credit from forms 4136, 2439, 8839 (adoption credit), 8801, 8885
- Affordable Care Act: Parts IV (Shared Policy Allocation) and V (Alternative Calculation for Year of Marriage) of Form 8962
- The following types of business returns:
- Business expenses in excess of $25,000
- Business showing a net loss
- Employee taxes
- Depreciation or amortization
- Inventory at year-end
- Business using accrual-based accounting
- Business use of home expenses
- Prior year disallowed passive activity loss
When should I file my taxes?
The IRS has extended the filing deadline to April 15th, 2022, but we don’t recommend waiting until the last minute. Filing sooner rather than later is a smart move for almost everyone, especially people missing a 1st or 2nd stimulus check and anyone with a major life change (marriage, divorce, death, had a child in 2020, etc.). Changes related to preparing returns with unemployment income and marketplace insurance are now live in tax software systems too, meaning that these returns can now be prepared accurately and without amendments. As of March 30th, the IRS has also announced their plan to send payments to people receiving federal benefits during the month of April.
How can people who are unhoused or currently experiencing homelessness receive their Economic Impact Payments?
In addition the resources and recommendations listed above, find additional information in this guide from our partners, Tucson Pima Collaboration to End Homelessness - Don't Miss Out: A Guide to 2021 Economic Impact Payments for People Experiencing Homelessness.
I filed my taxes but still haven’t received my federal refund.
Use the IRS Where’s My Refund? page to check the status of your federal refund. To check, you will need your social security number or ITIN, your filing status (ex. single, married filing jointly, etc.), and your exact refund amount – the amount of money that your tax preparer or tax software told you to expect.
What is the Recovery Rebate Credit?
Technically, the first two rounds of stimulus checks were advance payments of the Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 taxes. If you didn’t receive your payments yet, you can claim the credit on your taxes and receive it now. Learn more about the credit on the IRS 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit page
How can I protect myself from fraud?
Unfortunately, scams can be common during tax season - but preparing yourself to recognize them and take certain steps can reduce your risk. The website WalletHub compiled a helpful list of tips, starting with the two they deem most important: 1) File as early as possible every year, even if you don’t expect to owe any taxes or receive a refund; and 2) Take commonsense steps to safeguard your personal information, such as signing up for free 24/7 credit monitoring.
Read on for their other tips, such as ordering your tax transcript and improving your ability to recognize webpages that may not be secure or safe: Tax Scams & Tips for Avoiding Them.
Is tax help available year-round?
We recommend filing your return during the tax season to avoid penalties and late fees; however, help may be available until October 15 for those who need to file late returns, prior year returns or amendments.
United Way is not currently accepting appointments, but appointments can be made with our community partner, Pio Decimo Center.
Pio Decimo Center
848 S. 7th Ave
Tucson, AZ 85701
(520) 622-2801 ext. 7118
How can I get copies of my tax returns from previous years?
If you are looking for a past Federal return, you can also obtain prior year tax return transcripts on the IRS Get Transcript webpage. If you need a state return, you will need to contact your state’s Department of Revenue. In Arizona, the AZ DOR has a designated page for requesting copies of tax documents.
Where can I go to get more information about my tax situation?
Taxpayers with specific questions about their taxes can visit www.irs.gov/help-&-resources, or call or visit the local IRS or Arizona Department or Revenue offices. The Tucson IRS Office will take appointments to provide face-to-face services.
IRS - Tucson Office
300 W Congress, 85701
(520) 205-5008 - automated assistance
(844) 545-5640 - appointment scheduling
Monday - Friday 8:30AM - 4:30PM
Arizona Department of Revenue - Tucson Office
400 W Congress, 85701
8:00AM - 5:00PM