Goodwill to provide free tax prep help

Published 9:08 am Friday, January 26, 2024

UPDATE:  Goodwill has announced an increase the maximum household income eligibility requirement from $60,000 to $64,000. The non-profit also noted that the Moultrie and Tifton Goodwill locations will not be offering tax preparation services this year. This article has been updated accordingly.

For those needing help filing their taxes but can’t afford it, Goodwill has stepped up to help with free tax prep help.

On Monday, the Goodwill Career Center in LaGrange will again be offering free help in preparing income tax returns for families and individuals in need.

For over 10 years, Goodwill has partnered with the IRS to provide free tax preparation services for the community. The non-profit agency’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) recruits and trains volunteers to prepare free tax returns for households that earn less than $64,000 annually.

Volunteers are also available to help with preparing tax returns for previous years and amendments to previously filed taxes.

Goodwill will begin filing tax returns on Jan. 29, 2024, and continue through the end of tax season on April 15. Current year tax returns will be prepared during tax season, while prior year tax returns and amendments will be completed by appointment after May 2024.

Goodwill says they also help beyond the annual filing process.

“In the event of an audit or the need for amendments, Goodwill stands ready to assist clients throughout the process,” the non-profit said in a press release.

LaGrange Goodwill Career Center Manager Robert Goehring said Goodwill has been providing free tax preparation services since before the LaGrange location even opened.

“We did the first year before we had even finished the building,” Goehring said.

The building didn’t open till April. 13, 2022, so they offered the tax prep services out of Clearview Elementary School with the help of the Troup County School System until they could use their own building.

“It worked really well and was a great start, “ Goehring said.

Last year saw pretty good numbers too, he said, noting they helped about 120 people get their taxes filed.

Goehring said the program was created to help families with tighter budgets to get their taxes done.

“It’s a great thing for folks that are in that wage category. It makes sense for them to do it because otherwise they’re going to have to pay $100 or more,” Goehring said.

He said the only other free tax prep service in LaGrange is at the senior center, which is only for older individuals.

People can get help filing their taxes at the LaGrange Career Center or Goodwill locations in Columbus Midtown, Newnan Thomas Crossroads, Opelika, Phenix City, Valdosta and Villa Rica.

Goodwill offers a variety of methods for free tax filing, including traditional in-person appointments, quick and easy drop-off appointments and virtual filing. This tax season, unscheduled walk-ins will not be accommodated.

Individuals are encouraged to visit www.goodwillsr.org/vita to schedule an appointment.

Documents needed for tax prep help include:

  • Social security cards for yourself and all dependents
  • W-2s for each job held in 2023 for each person in the household
  • Photo ID
  • Health insurance form 1095 A/B/C
  • Form 6419 (letter defining your advanced child tax credit, if applicable)
  • Form 1098 (mortgage statement, if applicable)
  • Form 1444-C (statement for Economic Impact Payment #3, if applicable)
  • Childcare expenses
  • Last year’s tax returns
  • Bank account information (for direct deposit)