Cortland VITA

Free Tax Preparation in Cortland County, NY

  • Was your 2016 income less than $54,000?
  • Do you qualify for the Earned Income Credit?

If you meet either of these qualifications, IRS Certified tax preparers in the VITA program will prepare your taxes for free!

What we can do…

  • Free Federal and New York State tax preparation
  • Free Federal and New York Sate efiling
  • Free direct deposit for the very fastest receipt of your tax return
  • Free printed copies of your return at the time of filing

What you should bring…

  • Picture ID
  • Social Security Card or Statement for everyone on your return
  • All W-2 Forms from all employers throughout the year
  • Last year’s taxes (if available)
  • Information about tuition or student loan interest paid
  • If you paid for child care: totals, provider tax identification number, name and address
  • Any tax statements from retirement accounts or investment accounts
  • Account numbers for direct deposit of your tax return

Sorry, but we can’t do returns with…

  • International taxes
  • Business taxes with more than $10,000 in expenses
  • Rental income
  • Household employment
  • Business partnerships
  • Adoption credits

Want to help?

Become a patron! Click here to download our brochure.

A little bit about us...

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program started operating in Cortland County in 2005, supported by the Cornell Cooperative Extension. Over the years, Barb Henza, Cornell Cooperative’s Financial Educator, grew the program which has to date completed 4,563 tax returns for individuals under the income threshold. Barb developed a partnership with Cortland County Community Action Program (CAPCO), and the State University of New York’s College at Cortland (SUNY) along the way, training volunteers and coordinating outreach to the more rural parts of the county. Unfortunately,Cornell Cooperative Extension could no longer support the program in the manner to which it had become accustomed, but some new partners came onto the scene.

Alternatives Credit Union, the coordinators of an expansive VITA program in Tompkins County, stepped up to help us find funding, get laptops and provided guidance throughout the tax season. In addition, Access to Independence, the United Presbyterian Church of Cortland, the Cortland YWCA, and Cortland-Chenango Rural Services were all willing to host our volunteers. In the spring of 2014, with the assistance of these partners, our VITA volunteers were able to prepare returns for 608 Cortland County households with an average gross income of under $16,000. SUNY Cortland students provided over 1,400 volunteer hours, earning valuable real world experience.

How you can join the team...

The VITA program is sustained through the efforts of local volunteers. In the past, the VITA program has benefitted from the talents of retired lawyers and other professionals. Moving into the future, we would like to invite anyone interested in braving the winter to join our fall class, hosted by SUNY Cortland. The class meets once per week for 5-6 weeks and will cover the basics of tax preparation. Upon completion of the class, volunteers may choose to take the IRS exam and become a tax preparer or volunteer with the program by taking appointments and acting as a receptionist at our tax sites. Everyone is welcome regardless of experience or level of commitment.

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