The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, which is put on in part by the K-State Riley County Extension Office, will be entering its 15th year in existence in 2020.

With tax season just around the corner, this is a program that may just be worth taking advantage of for those who are eligible.

Through VITA, individuals or households making $56,000 or less per year are eligible to have both state and federal income taxes prepared and filed free-of-charge at the Manhattan Public Library.

In addition, taxes on income earned by military personnel while serving overseas is not eligible to be processed through this program.

Those that are eligible and end up participating not only save time and effort, but also save money.

“This past year, for the 2018 returns, our volunteers did 662 returns,” Gary Fike, the director for the extension office, said. “At an average cost of $175 (per return), that’s about $116,000 that volunteers have saved our clients in tax-prep fees.”

According to Fike, VITA also brought back over $800,000 worth of returns to clients.

These benefits likely wouldn’t be possible without the help of volunteers who work directly with clients to assist in the prep and filing of income taxes.

“Last year we had 13 volunteers that contributed a total of 604 hours in helping people prepare and file their income taxes, both federal and state,” Fike said. “And so it’s a tremendous effort by all the parties combined to move this thing forward.”

While volunteers are not required to have a background in tax prep and filing, they are required to go through training, which is done through IRS Materials, and testing.

Tax returns are also required to be looked over for corrections by a reviewer before they can be filed.

Anyone interested in volunteering can contact the extension office at 785-537-6350.

The office will be publicizing dates of when income-tax services will be provided on their Facebook page and website.

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