As of this afternoon, Thursday, March 12th we are suspending tax filing services for the foreseeable future. We apologize for the inconvenience to those who depend on the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program coordinated by the United Way of St. Joseph County. Our greatest interest, however, is in the health and safety of our volunteers, clients, and community.
For those that have utilized this program in the past, you are likely aware that the majority of our volunteer tax preparers fall within the most vulnerable category of those affected by contracting the COVID-19 Coronavirus. Additionally, most of our clients utilizing this service are elderly individuals who are highly susceptible to the effects of this infectious disease. While it has been a point of pride for our organization and our volunteers to provide free state and federal tax filings for low-to-moderate income households in our community, we cannot in good conscience continue this program at the risk of those we serve.
There are many variables yet to be accounted for with the VITA program such as:
– If tax filing deadlines will be extended
– If the IRS will allow us to conduct the VITA program during an extended period beyond April 15th
– When or how health department guidelines will change
– If our partner locations such as our public libraries will have the capacity and availability to accommodate future dates
– Our ability to re-schedule over 1,000 appointments
– Whether our volunteers will be able or willing to fulfill tax filing needs later than the normal tax season
If you already have an appointment set for filing taxes through the VITA program, we will be contacting you to confirm these cancellations, and we will be doing so as quickly as we can. We will make every effort possible to reschedule appointments for these individuals, but do not have any guidance on when we will begin setting appointments again, nor do we have formal confirmation from the IRS or federal government on whether the April 15th filing date will be extended.
Please consider utilizing myfreetaxes.com if you are able to access it, a free service for all simple returns.