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United Way of Stark County offering free tax-filing service for residents

United Way of Stark County offering free tax-filing service for residents
Posted at 1:30 PM, Jan 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-26 13:36:02-05

CANTON, Ohio — Monday is the first day you can file your 2019 tax return.

The United Way of Greater Stark County is making that process easier for people in Stark, Carroll, and Tuscarawas counties. Through its Volunteer Tax Assistance program, they’re able to get their taxes done for free.

The program is completely volunteer-based and those volunteers are certified by the IRS to help people file their taxes.

VITA is funded through a grant from the IRS that’s been matched by the United Way.

Individuals who make $65,000 or less – or married couples who make $95,000 or less can participate.

The most common way to file with VITA is making an appointment at one of their tax clinics across the three counties. Clinic locations include Carroll County District Library, CSE Federal Credit Union, DoverPhila Federal Credit Union, Massillon Recreation Center, OhioMeansJobs (Stark & Tuscarawas Counties), Rodman Library (Alliance), Stark County District Libraries (Main, East Canton, Madge Youtz and Sandy Valley), Stark State College, United Way of Greater Stark County and Walsh University. Other sites may be announced throughout the season.

Taxes can also be dropped off at the United Way offices in downtown Canton on Mondays from February 10 to April 6 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

VITA will also hold events throughout tax season to further accommodate residents. Its hosting a two-day tax-a-thon on January 31 and February 1 and two drive-thru drop-off events on February 29 and March 28.

“It's just like a drive-thru service. We have volunteers and greeters on site. The clients pull up. We go out to their car. We take them the information. They fill out all the information that's required by the IRS. And then we bring the information back in. And we have volunteers on site who process the returns,” Tami Stephens, VITA Site Coordinator at the United Way of Stark County, said.

“And last year when we had our first drive through drop off we did one last year. And I'm proud to say we did 35 returns and we turned them all around in the same day.”

The goal is to make it easier for people in those communities to file their taxes and in return – there are benefits for those communities at large.

“The service that we offer is wonderful for our community. It's a free service. It saves our clients, quite a bit of money and an average $200 per tax return. It puts a lot of money back into our community. Last year, we were able to put over $3.8 million back into the Stark, Carroll, and Tuscarawas counties just in refunds,” Stephens said.

The VITA tax clinics start this Wednesday, January 29 and run until Tax Day on April 15.

Walk-ins are not accepted, so make sure you make an appointment.

To schedule an appointment, visit www.uwstark.org/vita or call 330-994-VITA (8482), Monday – Thursday, 10AM – 5PM.

Jade Jarvis is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.