Here are some ways to file your taxes in Knox County

A program official said more and more people are making appointments to file their tax returns.

Knoxville, Tenn. – Tax season has officially begun and millions of Americans are preparing to file their returns.

Terry Reed, Manager of Voluntary Income Tax Assistance, has worked there for 13 years. The program works through the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee and helps people file their taxes for free.

He said that once someone traveled all the way from Chicago to file their taxes with VITA.

“He said it was cheaper to drive here than to pay in Chicago,” Reed said.

Now that tax season is underway, he said people are already making appointments. Kim Robinson works at the front desk and said filing in Knoxville can also be expensive.

“Most of the time to get your taxes done, even if it’s simple, you can pay anywhere from $300 to maybe $500,” Reed said. “If you want to get it back within a certain period of time.”

This year, things are changing for the Internal Revenue Service and for personal income tax. Things are going back to how they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There are nerves there,” Reed said. “But the biggest problem is that they don’t understand the differences.”

Reed said there are monthly credits and lump sum credits at play in this year’s tax season, and warned it could be confusing. At VITA, they do taxes all year round and out of season.

This program is designed primarily for those earning $66,000 a year and below, Reed said. But it’s more about the forms you bring. If you bring all your forms, the income limit won’t matter.

“It’s important when you come to do your taxes,” Reed said. “If you have a social security card for each person’s name that will appear on the tax form, the primary taxpayer which would be the one listed as the first person or if you are married filing jointly, we must have exhibits photo ID on these people.”

According to Reed, one of the most common mistakes people make is not claiming all of the dependents in their home, which can earn them more money.

Another common obstacle is that filers may forget to bring a W-2 or fail to bring all of their forms.

“Or they forget, maybe they had a part-time job, or they’ve been working at a job for a month or two and they’re not bringing those W-2s,” Reed said. “They forget they had the job.”

Bonita Gillespie is the owner of Gillespie Financial & Tax Service and is also a Certified Public Accountant. Since she was a student, she has been working with VITA.

“It bothered me that poor people were paying this big amount of money when they only waited seven to 14 days to get all their money,” Gillespie said.

In his experience, during tax season, each person comes with their own situation. She said that when it comes to taxes, every return is unique.

“Most people think they’re going to get a refund,” Gillespie said. “But no tax return is the same. Everyone’s conditions are different.”

Reed said going electronically is the fastest way to get your refund. In Tennessee, there is no state income tax, so all residents must file for federal income tax.

The IRS also allows people to file their taxes for free. One is a guided preparation that you answer simple questions. The other choice lets you do all the work.

“I always say to individuals, don’t let the IRS be your banker and let them withhold more money,” Gillespie said. “So you may think you’re going to get this big lump sum check during tax season, when you should be getting the money you’re entitled to throughout the year to pay your bills.”

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