Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program
Program Update - 2022
Due to COVID concerns, The Accounting Department VITA program has been discontinued for the current year.
For the 28th consecutive year, beginning February 16, 2021, Saint Joseph’s University will be sponsoring and offering free tax return preparation services to taxpayers who qualify for the IRS-managed Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) Grant Program.
The IRS VITA program has operated for over 50 years. For more information about volunteering contact Fred Teufel, director of the VITA program.
For 2020 tax returns, taxpayers that meet the following criteria qualify for the free income tax service:
- Earnings of $57,000 or less
- Persons with disabilities
- A U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- Does not own and operate their own business
- Does not own any rental property
How VITA Works
Please note that the global pandemic had a major impact on the way we will have to deliver this vital community outreach program for the 2020 tax preparation season. We will be preparing and filing returns virtually to avoid physical contact in accordance with the guidance issued by the State of Pennsylvania and the University. Scheduled taxpayers will communicate with student volunteers via phone or Zoom during their scheduled appointment.
In preparation for scheduled tax return preparation appointments, taxpayers scheduled for an appointment will be required to send the necessary documents by U.S. mail to the following address:
PO Box # 307
Merion Station, PA 19066-9998
Alternatively, taxpayers scheduled for an appointment can deposit their tax documents in a sealed envelope in a secure drop box in the lobby of the Mandeville Building at Saint Joseph's campus on 5400 City Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19131.
A list of required taxpayer documents is provided below. We will contact you to confirm that we received your documents. Appointments can be scheduled by calling the SJU VITA hotline at 610-660-1125 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that the IRS places limits on the types of returns VITA partners can prepare. For a complete list of limitations please see IRS Publication 4012 (Pages 5-16).
Below is a list of items we require to prepare your return. Please note that you must only provide copies of your forms/documents since we will not be able to return them once the return is prepared:
- Photo identification. We cannot do your return without this.
- Social Security cards for you, your spouse and dependents and/or a Social Security number verification letter issued by the Social Security Administration. This is an IRS requirement to prevent identity theft. We cannot do your return without this.
- Completed and signed Intake/Interview & Quality Review Sheet (Form 13814c and Form 15080).
- Completed and signed Virtual VITA/TCE Taxpayer Consent (Form 14446). We will email you this form once your appointment is scheduled.
- Form 1095-A if you received health insurance at any time during the year via the marketplace. We cannot do your return without this.
- Last year’s Federal and State returns if your 2019 return was not prepared at the SJU VITA site. This is very useful in doing the current year’s return.
- Bank routing numbers and account numbers for direct deposit if you would like to have your refund directly deposited to your bank account.
You may also need to provide copies of the following forms depending on your circumstances. Please read this list carefully. If you do not provide what is needed, it will delay the process as we will need to contact you for the additional documents.
- If you had one or more jobs during 2020, you must send copies of all of your wage and tax statements commonly known as Form W-2.
- If you received any payments from the government (such as unemployment benefits), you must send Form W-2G.
- If you are retired and received payments from one or more former employers, or distributions from one or more retirement accounts, you must send all 1099-R forms.
- If you are receiving Social Security benefits, you must send a copy of Form SSA-1099.
- If you received interest (for example, from a bank), you must send Form 1099-Int.
- If you received dividends from owning mutual funds or stocks, you must send form 1099-Div.
- If you sold investments during the year, you must send Form 1099-B.
- If you were a college student during 2020 or are claiming a college student as a dependent, you may be entitled to education credits. You must send Form 1098-T, which should have been sent to you by the school. (Hint: you may have to download this form from the college’s web portal.)
If you think you may benefit from itemizing deductions, which is very unlikely under the revised tax code, you will need to provide:
- Documentation for medical and dental bills, prescriptions, and insurance premiums.
- Documentation for property/real estate taxes paid (note that locally, many people get two tax bills).
- Mortgage interest statements from your lender (Form 1098). This form may include amounts your lender paid on your behalf for property/real estate taxes.
- Receipts for charitable donations (if you are unsure, please submit what you have). Please note that for 2020 and 2021, you are allowed to deduct a limited amount of qualifying monetary contributions without itemizing ($300).
- A statement from your dependent’s daycare provider that includes the total paid to the daycare provider and the daycare provider’s tax identifying number (the provider’s SSN or the provider’s business Employer Identification Number).
Please note that scheduled taxpayers are required to be available by phone or Zoom at the scheduled time so that student volunteers can complete your return. If you are filing jointly, your spouse will also be required to be available.