Free tax assistance for all New Hanover County residents

Free tax assistance for all New Hanover County residents

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - From now until April 15, New Hanover County is offering tax preparation and filing by a trained and IRS-certified volunteer.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) service is available a three locations in New Hanover County:

  • Senior Resource Center at 2222 S College Rd. Mon., Wed., & Fri. from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Tues. & Thurs. from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Downtown Library at 101 Chestnut St. Mon. - Fri. from 9:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.
  • Town of Carolina Beach at 300 Cape Fear Blvd. Mon. - Fri. from noon until 4 p.m. Sat. from 8 a.m. - noon.

There are about 50 volunteers throughout the three locations to assist residents. The Senior Resource Center is the largest of the three sites with 35 volunteers. The SRC has been participating in the VITA program for over 40 years making it one of the longest running sites in the country.

What makes this program special is that anyone and everyone can get tax assistance.

“We don’t have an income limitation. You don’t have be a senior citizen, for example, to come here which is a widely perceived, incorrect assumption about it," said Bill Hawkins, a volunteer and site coordinator for the VITA program at the New Hanover County Senior Resource Center.

“[The VITA program is] for people who basically are afraid of taxes or who don’t want to deal with it,” Hawkins said. “This is a great alternative to that, to come here.”

You do not need to make an appointment, but you can sign up in person for a time-slot beginning at 8:00 each morning. After signing up, you can leave and return 20 minutes before your scheduled time.

Taxpayers are asked to bring the following documents:

  • Photo I.D. for taxpayer and spouse
  • Social Security cards
  • Proof of health insurance coverage: Forms 1095A, B, or C; Marketplace exemption letter
  • Copy of last year’s tax return
  • Income documents
  • Brokerage statements
  • Educational expenses
  • If you want to itemize expenses: detailed list and receipts for medical expenses, charitable contributions, real estate taxes and mortgage interest form
  • For direct deposit of refund, you will need a check or deposit slip from your bank

Last year, the program assisted taxpayers with 5,000 federal and state tax returns.

Sharon Cooke used to pay someone to do her taxes, but for the last nine years, she’s been using the VITA program at the Senior Resource Center and recommends everyone else do the same.

“I always took them someplace and it was an extreme amount of money that kept getting higher and higher,” Cooke said. “I had a friend tell be about this place so I thought, ‘You know, I’ll try it.’"

Cooke says the program is just as good if not better than anywhere else you could get your taxes done.

“They keep everything. They file everything. If you have a problem, they can easily access it. They have everything that anyone else would do,” Cooke said.

For more information, visit the Senior Resource center website or call 910-798-6406. You can also reach out to officials there if you’re interested in becoming a volunteer for the VITA program.

UNCW is also hosting a VITA program. For information on that, click here.

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