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Free tax program wrapping up season

While the IRS has extended the tax season until May 17 local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance providers will be closing their sites at the end of April.

The VITA program provides free income tax preparation to most taxpayers earning less than $60,000 per year, through the generosity of local IRS Certified volunteers and local agencies. Chautauqua County has three primary VITA program operators, The Southern Chautauqua Federal Credit Union, and the United Ways of Northern and Southern Chautauqua County.

Sites have been available throughout the county during the 2020 tax season for both in person and drop off tax returns. Adam Dolce, executive director of the United Way of Northern Chautauqua County commented, “This has been a very busy tax season. In addition to the restrictions placed on us due to COVID we have seen many taxpayers in need of their stimulus payments, questions with regards to unemployment, and seen adjustments made by the IRS mid-season. Despite the challenges our volunteers in the North County have brought more than $1,000,000 back to taxpayers in our area and are on track to see an increase in the number of returns we did over the last tax season. In fact, we are very close to a record total amount of tax refund dollars coming back through our VITA site.”

The United Way of Northern Chautauqua County provides the VITA services at their office, as well as at remote sites in Silver Creek, and other communities. They partner with SUNY Fredonia’s accounting majors and faculty to provide the site at the Technology Incubator, as well as with the Westfield YWCA to provide the service in Westfield.

Taxpayers that have been waiting to make an appointment with the VITA program are encouraged to call as soon as possible. Only a limited number of slots are still available, and some locations may not have any bookings left. “We are happy to provide this service in a limited capacity for an additional two weeks,” Dolce said, “but, we just do not have the resources to remain open until the new tax deadline of May 17.”

To make an appointment at the United Way office, Technology Incubator, or one of the remote sites call 2-1-1, or 1-888-696-9211. You may also call the United Way office at 716-366-5424 Walk-ins may not be seen, due to the high demand and priority given to customers with appointments.

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