Local KKXX radio show Chico Now, had our very own Krystal Tyranowski, Assistant to the CEO, and Amanda Scofield, Program & Marketing Specialist on as guests to talk about this years’ VITA program.
Thank you, once again, to Vince Haynie for hosting us on the show to help spread the news about this and other programs we provide to the community.
You can listen to the podcast by clicking here, or read the transcript of the interview below.
A Little About VITA
Vince: Welcome to the broadcast, ladies. What brings you here?
Amanda: Well, we're actually really excited to tell you about our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program or VITA program. We have a lot of folks that we help. In fact, we helped over 1,200 people file their taxes last year, and we do it for free.
We help folks get their refund. We bring in a lot of money into the community every year this way. In fact, we brought in over a million dollars last year in refunds, we do every year, and it helps folks in the community who are low to moderate income. Also folks with disabilities, folks who are seniors or have mobility issues, even English as a second language or English learners, we help as well.
We wanted to share a little bit about the history of VITA. It started in the 70's.
Vince: So what does VITA stand for?
Amanda: Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. Yeah, and actually the IRS are the ones who provide the grants for this and it's nationwide.
Amanda: Indeed. They're incentivized to get folks to file their taxes cause it's kind of a common thing to avoid doing your taxes, right? No, it's no fun. So we offer that extra helping hand and all you have to do is come in and provide some basic information and we can walk you through that process.
People say “What do you mean? You mean I can finally buy a bed or I can pay for that trip to go visit my family I haven't seen in ten years?” or whatever it is. It makes a real difference in the lives of folks that we help and you know, it is first come first serve. We can't help everyone, but you can come on down and we can see if you qualify and just make sure that we're reaching out, getting the word out.
Logistics of the Program
Amanda: The way you can find out, is if your household annual income was less than $56,000 last year in 2019, then you qualify to have your taxes prepared by us for free. You just have to show up, bring your stuff and your ID.
We have folks who will be helping fill out the information. If you speak another language and you can translate, you know, to English. That would be very helpful. We have a need for Spanish speakers in our area, especially.
We partner with the California State University, Chico business department and a lot of the accounting students, they get great experience this way. They get volunteer hours, to serve in the community, and we get Chico State's expertise and their commitment because they've been doing this for years and they're a great partner. We love working with them. They're at a few of our different sites, one of which is the Chico State’s Bell Memorial Union.
Oh a Surprise?!
Amanda: One new thing that is fun this year is this Save your Refund, promotion that's going on. It's a fun contest. The IRS wants to incentivize us to save money in a savings account, which a lot of folks struggle with. And so one way we can help kickstart that is if you tell the tax preparer that you want to do this, you want to split your refund into two or more accounts.
So instead of getting it direct deposited just in your checking, you can have some of it and your savings. If you get at least $50 into a savings account, or you purchase the savings bond with that, then you can enter to win $10,000.
Amanda: Yeah, that's the grand prize. Well, there's two grand prizes of $10,000. They're also going to be selecting ten winners of $100 each week, and so really all you have to do is ask the tax preparer, when you get to one of our VITA sites, and also you can go to saveyourrefund.com to find out more information. Of course there are rules that apply because it's a contest, but yeah, they're going to be giving away two grand prize of $10,000 each. People did win last year too.
Krystal: Free income tax preparation service will be happening Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays as well as Saturdays. And please check the Butte CAA website at www.buttecaa.com or Chico State University's website, www.csuchico.edu. You can find the times and locations at both those websites.
The services will be offered in Chico, Durham, Oroville, CSU, Chico campus, The CARD Center, Dorothy F. Johnson Center, and Durham Memorial Hall. The Spring Valley School is by appointment only.
Vince: All those locations and you can go to the website and find those locations.
Krystal: Yes. And it will be occurring February 1st through April 10.
Amanda: Right. We have something for everyone. We have some sites that are open, Monday and Wednesday nights from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM. We have some sites that are open all day Saturday and so it's whatever fits your schedule, you can take a look at the flyer on the website. We do have some closures that you'll need to pay attention to if you're trying to plan this out. I would say get on it sooner rather than later.
We offer first come first serve and by appointment. Space is filling up, so the sooner you call, the sooner you can make sure you get your spot there.
Vince: Speaking of call, for those who are probably listening who don't have access to the internet, can they just call CAA?
Amanda: Absolutely. It's (530)712-2883. That's my direct office line. If I'm not able to pick up, obviously you can leave a message
and I'll get back to you. If you want to leave a message with your email address, I'll get back to you probably even faster.
What to Bring
Krystal: Okay. And some things that will be really important to bring with you to these sites are a photo ID, Social Security card for you, your spouse, and dependents, birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents on the tax return.
A W-2, W-2G a 1099-R a 1099-MISC from all employers. Interest and dividends statements from bank forms, 1099 all forms, 1095, health insurance statements, last year's federal and state returns, proof of bank account, routing and account numbers for direct deposits such as a blank check. Sorry about that. Both spouses must be present if filing joint tax return and total paid for daycare provider and daycare provider's tax ID number.
Amanda: The CARD Center.
Vince: That's on Vallombrosa here in Chico.
Amanda: Correct. That's right. And they will be offering their services Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:00 to 4:00 PM first come first serve. Dorothy F. Johnson Center also here in Chapmantown. Yeah, that's off East 16th Street.
Vince: That's my 'hood.
Amanda: Yeah, I love it over there. They'll be offering their services, 1:00 to 4:00 PM Feb. 8th through April 4th and first come first serve and they will be providing Spanish and English speaking.
Vince: Spanish and English in Chapman at the Dorothy F. Johnson Center.
Krystal: Mm-hmm and Durham Memorial Hall in Durham.
Amanda: Yeah, on Midway. Fridays and Saturdays by appointment only. And you can call (530) 345-1921 and this location is English only and they will be starting on February 1st through and it'll go through April 4th.
Amanda: California State University, they will be located at Bell memorial Union on West 2nd here in Chico and they will be providing services Mondays and Wednesdays 4:00 to 8:00 PM and Spring Valley Elementary School again is by appointment only. So if you want an appointment at Spring Valley Elementary School, call (530) 433-9101.
Vince: Okay, well thank you ladies for coming and enlightening our listening audience on what's happening at the Community Action Agency.
Amanda: Follow and like us on Facebook, too. It's Community Action Agency of Butte County. We'll tell you all about the good stuff.