NEW BRITAIN – Tax Day is extended to May 17 and the Human Resources Agency of New Britain hopes residents will take advantage of its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program and avoid waiting until the last minute.
“We’re really pushing for those who are qualified to use the VITA program because the longer you wait, the longer it takes for you to get your refund,” said Juan Berrios, HRA’s Financial Services program manager. “A lot of people are not aware what kind of refund or tax credit they are eligible for and that’s what VITA is here for.”
The program has gone virtual due to the ongoing pandemic, but the services provided are still the same. The Village for Families and Children and HRA of New Britain have partnered with the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut to help residents file taxes at no charge.
Households with an annual income up to $57,000 qualify for the free tax preparation, according to the program. To register for VITA in the Greater Hartford area and schedule a free virtual tax preparation with a professional volunteer, visit: 211ct.org/taxhelp.
To make an appointment in the New Britain area, visit hranbct.org/VITA or call 860-356-2000. The agency will be open Tax Day, May 17 from noon to 8 p.m. Walk-ins are allowed on Tax Day.
“We’re not going to say no if you come in last minute,” Berrios said. “We want to make sure people get their refunds without having to pay a lot of fees. They deserve to have their entire refund.”
All VITA volunteers are IRS-certified tax professions and are ready to help all qualifying tax filers claim the tax credits they have earned. Similar to last year, filers will be connected to a team of volunteer tax preparers and arrangements will be made to file virtually.
For those who have not received their federal stimulus checks yet, Berrios strongly recommends filing a tax return in order to obtain those funds.
“We’ve had a lot of traditional non-filers come and file their taxes so they can get the checks,” he said. “It’s really easy. All you need is to be a US citizen and have a social security number to start your filing process.”
As a part of the American Rescue Plan, there has been a temporary one-year increase to the Earned Income Tax Credit from $530 to $1,500 for workers without children. The plan would help low-income workers who earn less than $21,000.
There has also been an expansion towards the child tax credit, where a family of three or more will receive a maximum EITC of $6,660. For the complete details of the expansion, Berrios suggests signing up with a VITA volunteer.
Last year, in the local region, VITA supported more than 13,000 tax filers, a 11.5 % increase despite going virtual about halfway through the tax season. VITA also reported that last year, local VITA tax filers received more than $17.1 million in federal refunds and credits alone. On average, people who filed their taxes through VITA received a federal refund of $1,410 per person and average earned income tax credit of $1,111.
“I can’t stress this enough, don’t wait until the last minute to file your taxes,” Berrios said. “There are a lot of great options out there and we want to help people take advantage of them.”