JEDI VITA volunteers have prepared more than 5,000 tax returns since the site’s inception in 2005 and now uses the drop off method for tax preparation. No appointment is necessary.

The JEDI VITA site, which provides free basic tax preparation for low to middle income wage earners, is excited to announce it will be open for business on Jan. 31, which is also Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day.

JEDI VITA volunteers have prepared more than 5,000 tax returns since the site’s inception in 2005 and now uses the drop off method for tax preparation. No appointment is necessary.

EITC Awareness Day is an event organized by the IRS and its partners to educate the public about the EITC and requirements to claim the credit.

EITC is a refundable tax credit for low to moderate income working individuals and couples, particularly those with children. The amount of EITC benefit depends on a recipient’s income and number of children.

The goal is to raise awareness of EITC to ensure every qualified worker claims and receives their EITC.

The Earned Income Tax Credit could put an extra $2 or up to $6,557 into the pockets of eligible taxpayers (even more in California with its greatly enhanced CalEITC), according to a press release from VITA. EITC and the child tax credit greatly reduce poverty for working families.

These working family credits lifted an estimated 8.9 million people out of poverty in 2017, including 4.8 million or more than half of them children, VITA stated.

VITA Site Coordinator Pandora Kane said she’s looking forward to the upcoming season.

“We are excited to expand the program this year and help taxpayers get all the refunds they deserve. It’s a great time to file taxes in California.”

Kane said the CalEITC has been “significantly increased” and the state has also introduced the new Young Child Tax Credit.

“If you qualify for CalEITC and have a child under the age of 6 as of the end of 2019, you may qualify for up to $1,000 through this credit. Let our staff of certified volunteers take the ‘ax’ out tax for you.”

There are three locations for drop off, one in Mount Shasta and two in Yreka. Siskiyou County residents are welcome to use either location, said Kane.

Drop off in Mount Shasta is every Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. at the JEDI office, 205 Chestnut Street which includes a 30 minute intake interview. The return is prepared during the week and ready for pick up the following Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. Pick Up also requires 30 minutes for a quality review of the return. The first day for drop off is Jan. 31 and the final drop off date is April 8.

In Yreka, taxpayers can drop off their tax documents at the Senior Center at 810 N. Oregon Street on Feb. 12, March 4 and April 1. Taxpayers may also drop off at the Yreka Community Resource Center at 201 S. Broadway on Feb. 4, March 3 and March 31. Drop off is from 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at both Yreka locations. Pick up is the following week between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Yreka taxpayers must RSVP in case of inclement weather. Call the VITA Tax Line at 888-926-6670, Option 5 to leave your name, phone number, date and location of drop off.

Taxpayers must bring the following documents to have their taxes prepared: Social Security cards or ITIN Notices for all individuals on the return, proof of identification for self and spouse, all forms W2 and 1099, information for other income, information for all deductions and credits, a copy of last year’s tax return (if available), routing number and account number for direct deposit or direct debit, total paid to daycare provider, their tax ID, address and phone number, and finally, Forms 1095 A, B, or C (health insurance documents).

“It is very important to bring all the necessary documents,” said Kane. “If Married Filing Joint, both taxpayer and spouse must sign the e-file authorization form.”

For more information on the VITA program check the website www.jedi.org, call the JEDI Tax Line at 888-926-6670, Option 5, email pkane@e-jedi.org or go to www.facebook.com/JEDI-Volunteer-Income-Tax-Assistance-Program