VITA Q&A

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What is VITA, and am I eligible for free tax preparation? The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $60,000 or less, persons with disabilities and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.

Are services available in other languages? Services are available in English and Spanish, and we can provide translation in Mam and Mandarin.

Are you taking appointments? Yes, our VITA site is now open by appointment only! Starting Monday, January 27th through April 14th.

How do I make an appointment? To make an appointment Call (510) 535 6101 (Preferred) or email vita@unitycouncil.org  or ylopez@unitycouncil.org  

What are your operation hours? 

Monday – Friday 10:30 am – 5:00 pm except for Wednesdays. We are going to have Wednesday for drop off only.

Saturdays will be open only: March 14th, 21st, 28th and April 4th, 11th, from 10:30 – 3:00 pm.

Our VITA site is closed on Presidents Day (2/17/20) and Cesar Chavez Day (3/30/20).

When is the VITA season? The VITA site operates from Monday, January 27th to Tuesday, April 14th.

Where is the VITA site? The VITA site operates at The Unity Council’s Career Center located at 1900 Fruitvale Ave. Oakland, CA. 94601. 1st Floor

Do you offer help in languages other than English? Yes! We have a translation available in Spanish, Mam, and Cantonese.

Can I file my taxes at the VITA site if I am not a U.S. citizen? Yes. 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. We do NOT assign ITIN numbers. For a list of ITIN providers, visit: www.irs.gov/individuals/acceptance-agents-california

What should I bring to my appointment?

  • Proof of identification (photo ID)
  • Social Security cards or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) for you, your spouse and dependents
  • 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)
  • All Forms 1095, Health Insurance Statements
  • Health Insurance Exemption Certificate, if received
  • 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 numbers such as their Social Security number or business Employer Identification Number
  • Forms 1095-A, B or C, Affordable Health Care Statements
  • Copies of income transcripts from IRS and state, if applicable (example: unemployment benefits)
  • Optional: A copy of last year’s federal and state returns, if available

Before scheduling your appointment, please review a list of the types of returns the VITA site can prepare: www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p3676bsp.pdf

Does VITA prepare Federal, State, and Local tax returns for free? Your Federal, State, and Local taxes will all be prepared.

Does VITA e-file tax returns? Yes, VITA sites e-file all Federal and State tax returns.

What if I need to file a return for a state other than California, can VITA do that? VITA in-person sites can only prepare CA tax returns, but you can visit the United Way website and do your own return to file state returns other than CA. Visit: www.unitedway.org/myfreetaxes/

Can I file last year’s taxes or make an amendment to a prior year? Sorry, No. But, you can visit the United Way website and do your own amendment or prior year return for free. Visit: www.unitedway.org/myfreetaxes/

I did my taxes with you last year. Do you have my information still on file?

No, we do not save any information from past years. Please bring all necessary documents to your appointment.