Cherokee Nation To Offer Free Tax Preparation Service

(L to R) Northeastern State University accounting student Jorge Morales, Cherokee Nation Commerce Department mortgage officer Cora Lathrop, NSU accounting students Hunter Watkins, Michael Ford and Bailey Shepherd. Lathrop works with the NSU accounting students to train them to prepare and file 2019 state and federal taxes.

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (KFSM) — The Cherokee Nation will be offering its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program to help eligible families prepare and file their 2019 state and federal income tax for free from February 3 through April 15.

Volunteers from the Cherokee Nation Commerce Department and Northeastern State University accounting students will be preparing the returns using the basic 1040 form. All returns will be e-filed by the VITA program at no charge.

In the past 10 years, the tribe’s VITA program has prepared and submitted nearly 18,000 tax returns. They have helped taxpayers receive nearly $24 million in tax refunds including earned income tax credits. Last year VITA program helped more than 1,900 taxpayers by saving preparation fees averaging $225 that are normally charged for these services.

“This program is important for our communities and our tribal citizens. The money saved by not paying tax preparer fees can be used for paying bills, car repair or save for an emergency,” said Cora Lathrop, Cherokee Nation Commerce department mortgage officer.

For over 40 years, the Cherokee Nation has partnered up with the IRS to provide free tax preparation to Native and non-Native families. In order to qualify for the free tax preparation service, a household income must not exceed more than $56,000 per year. There is no jurisdictional boundary requirement to be eligible for this program.

Appointments can be made now at any of the 13 tax preparation sites including Tahlequah, Pryor, Westville, Stilwell, Sallisaw, Catoosa, Claremore, Jay, Salina, Muskogee, Vinita, Ochelata and Nowata. Walk-ins will also be accepted at Westville and Tahlequah locations.

To use the service, families must provide photo ID, Social Security card, and birthdate for each person listed on the return, individual taxpayer-identification numbers, W-2s, 1099s, a copy of the previous year’s return, documentation of deductions, and bank account information for direct deposit. Additional documents may be required.

For individuals or families with an annual income of 69,000 or less, the tribe’s Commerce department recommends preparing their state and federal taxes online for free at http://www.myfreetaxes.com

Below is a list of free tax preparation sites offered by Cherokee Nation:

Tahlequah: Cherokee Nation Tsa-La-Gi Community Room, 17695 S. Muskogee Ave.

Open 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday by appointment and walk-in. Not available Feb. 20, March 4 and March 5.

 

Pryor: Cherokee Nation Career Services, 2945 Hwy 69A.

Open 9:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday by appointment only.

 

Westville: Westville Public Library, 116 N. Williams.

Open 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 18, March 10 and March 24 by walk-in only.

 

Stilwell: Cherokee Nation Career Services, 219 W. Oak St.

Open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday by appointment only.

 

Sallisaw: Housing Authority of Cherokee Nation, 2260 W. Cherokee.

Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday by appointment only, call 918-774-0770 ext. 1 or ext. 2.

 

Catoosa: Housing Authority of Cherokee Nation, 310 Chief Stand Watie.

Open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday by appointment only, call 918-342-6814.

 

Claremore: Housing Authority of Cherokee Nation, 23205 S. Hwy 66.

Open 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday by appointment only, call 918-342-6807 or 918-342-6814.

 

Jay: Housing Authority of Cherokee Nation, 1300 W. Cherokee.

Open 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday by appointment only, call 918-253-4078.

 

Salina: Cherokee Nation Food Distribution Site, 904 Owen Walter Blvd.

Open 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday by appointment only, call 918-207-3939. Not available Feb. 18, March 10 or March 24.

 

Muskogee: Three Rivers Health Clinic, 1001 S 41 St. E.

Open 9:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on every Tuesday in February as well as March 10 and March 17, by appointment only.

 

Vinita: Vinita Health Center, 27371 S 4410 Rd.

Open 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 5 and 26, as well as March 11 and 25 by appointment only. Call 918-342-6807.

 

Ochelata: Cooweescoowee Health Clinic, 39500 W. 2900 Rd.

Open 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 12, March 4 and April 1 by appointment only, call 918-342-6807.

 

Nowata: Will Rogers Health Clinic, 1020 Lenape Dr.

Open 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 19, March 18 and April 8 by appointment only. Call 918-342-6807.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, unless otherwise noted, call the Cherokee Nation Commerce department at 918-453-5536.

To find a VITA program anywhere in the United States, call l-800-906-9887 or visit http://www.irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep/.

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