Reading, PA — Through its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program, Berks Encore volunteers will offer free income tax assistance from February 6 to April 14. The services are provided at no charge for senior citizens and low- to middle-income families (generally $54,000 and below) who cannot afford to hire an accountant. Appointments are available at the Fleetwood, Mifflin, Reading, Strausstown, and Wernersville centers starting February 6. Berks Encore will begin taking appointments on January 23.
Returns are completed at each of Berks Encore’s activity centers by certified volunteers. Berks Encore is also partnering with Berks Community Action Program (BCAP).
Certified volunteers (many of whom are senior citizens) prepare for the tax season by completing 20 hours of tax training for Federal returns and for Pennsylvania State returns, including the Rent and Property Rebate Forms. The volunteers must also pass a tax test following the training session.
VITA volunteers can prepare federal, state and local tax forms as well as property tax and rent rebate forms. They can also direct you to someone for help on your PACE/Pacenet applications.
Note: To file taxes electronically on a married-filing-joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms. If your spouse cannot attend, please reschedule your appointment so our staff can assist others.
Please note that Berks Encore, like all VITA locations nationwide, will be utilizing a new software program due to changes made by the IRS. Because of this change, your appointment may take a bit longer as information will need to be entered into this new system. Once again, due to changes in the VITA in the program, there are tax situations that Berks Encore volunteers are no longer able to prepare. If any of these apply to you, please see a paid tax preparer:
Your income is more than $54,000You have or claim rental propertyYou have multiple or complicated stock or brokerage accounts (sold more than 10 stocks)You have healthcare insurance from the marketplace (Obamacare) shared with a person not claimed on your tax returnYou’re self-employed and expect to show a loss
To schedule an appointment, please contact the Berks Encore center closest to you:
Fleetwood: (610) 944-9242Mifflin: (610) 777-5577Reading: (610) 374-3195, x209Strausstown: (610) 488-5770Wernersville: (610) 670-1372
Hours vary by center. Limited evening hours are available, starting on February 13. For additional information regarding the program, please call (610) 374-3195, x209.