Iowa Workers Get Free Tax Preparation Assistance

 Sites available throughout the state

February 5, 2021

(Des Moines, Iowa) - The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) reminds Iowans with low to moderate income, Iowans who are elderly, and Iowans with disabilities that they can get free tax preparation services at sites throughout the state.

Funding for this initiative comes from a two-year grant through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) grant program. VITA is an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) initiative designed to promote and support free tax preparation service for the underserved, in both urban and non-urban locations.

DHS contracts with the Iowa Center for Economic Success to promote and deliver the tax preparation services through coalition partners across the state. You can find locations and times for tax preparation assistance at: https://theiowacenter.org/services/tax-services/ or at https://irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep/.

“In a year like the one we just had, filing taxes can seem more stressful than ever. The EITC/VITA program ensures that hardworking Iowans can access accurate, efficient, and free tax preparation in a safe and supportive environment. The way our volunteer tax preparers work with our clients will look different this year – many working virtually – but the history of strong service remains the same,” said Erma Mujic, Manager of Government Funding + Compliance with The Iowa Center.

During the 2019 filing season, over 139,000 Iowa families claimed over $61.6 million in Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). EITC eligibility can be complex and varies by income, family size, and filing status.

By visiting a VITA site, Iowans can access IRS-trained and certified volunteers who can help them determine if they qualify for the EITC and other refundable tax credits, such as the Child Tax Credit or education credits. Volunteers at these sites also prepare and e-file (electronically file) tax returns at no cost. More than 500 volunteers prepared over 12,000 returns during last year’s filing season.

"The Earned Income Tax Credit can be extremely helpful for working Iowans, providing them more money to help them pay for groceries, housing costs and other bills. We want to spread the word and encourage Iowans eligible to file a tax return, even if they don’t owe any taxes, to take full advantage of the EITC,” said Adult, Children and Family Services Division Administrator Janee Harvey.

Number of federal returns prepared through the Iowa VITA program:

Tax Year Federal Returns Prepared
2020

14,089

2019 17,913
2018 18,508
2017 19,875
2016 19.950
2015 20,002
2014 19,189
2013 14,579
2012 12,660

*Source: TaxWise Reports/Year-end Report Data from coalition partners to The Iowa Center

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More details on free tax preparation: https://theiowacenter.org/services/tax-services/

Media contact:

Matt Highland

mhighla@dhs.state.ia.us

515-281-4848

Publish Date: 
Friday, February 5, 2021