Housing Counselor’s Corner: Filing Taxes and the Earned Income Tax Credit

It’s that time again. With a deadline of April 15, 2019, tax season is already underway. If your income is under $55,000 a year, you might qualify for free tax filing. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program is a credit benefit for low to moderate working people.

In the central Virginia area, the United Way Thomas Jefferson Area’s Cville Tax-Aid program provides free tax preparation assistance and promotes the use of the EITC and other credits for eligible taxpayers. Cville Tax Aid is offering free tax preparation assistance January 28 – April 15.

There are numerous sites available for you to get your taxes completed free of charge. Some of these sites like the UVA Credit Union and the Jefferson School City Center require an appointment, so call ahead. You can visit Cville Tax Aid’s website for a full list of locations and phone numbers to assist you in your income tax filing.

Before heading to your tax preparation appointment, gather the necessary documentation such as:

  • Photo IDVisit IRS.gov/EITC to see if you qualify for this valuable tax credit.
  • Social security cards for the household (parents and dependents)
  • Proof of income earned-wage and income statements (W-2, 1099-R, 1099-Int, 1099-G). Any employer or contractor that paid you money, will issue you a wage and income statement.
  • If you have children, you need proof of your expenses (including something that shows the address and federal IDs) for the whole year of 2018.
  • Last year’s (2017) federal and state income tax returns.
  • If you want your refund to be deposited, bring a deposit slip (or a voided check).
  • Did you have health insurance by the Marketplace/Exchange during 2018? If so, bring your health insurance form, called a 1095A.
  • Proof of health insurance (insurance card)

While gathering your documents consider if you are expecting a refund. It is good to plan ahead as to what are you going to do with your refund. Consider setting a goal such as paying off a bill, paying toward a bill, buying a car, or putting some of the money into a savings account. Planning for your refund will encourage structured spending and allow you to avoid spending on unnecessary items. Piedmont Housing Alliance’s Housing Counselors can help you with budgeting, credit-building, and saving.

Plan to file your taxes before the April 15 deadline to avoid any penalties. If you have questions or need help making a decision, contact one of Piedmont Housing Alliance’s HUD approved Housing Counselors at 434-817-2436.