Cherokee Nation offers VITA tax prep services

BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
01/08/2021 09:00 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cora Lathrop Cherokee Nation mortgage loan officer and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance coordinator, helps Eric and Christy Young, of Tahlequah, file their taxes as part of the tribe’s free VITA program. ARCHIVE
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation, in partnership with the Internal Revenue Service, is once again offering free tax preparation through its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program Feb. 1 through April 15.

Taxpayers living in households that meet eligibility requirements can schedule an appointment with VITA to have their taxes prepared and filed electronically for state and federal taxes at no cost.

Low-to-moderate income with household income under $57,000 can file through VITA, Anna Knight, CN Commerce Department executive director, said. VITA is operated through the Commerce Department and open to Native and non-Native families.

“This program saves families an average of $200 in tax service fees, and electronic returns with direct deposit are the fastest way to receive tax refunds,” Knight said.

She said in 2020 the program helped file 1,962 tax returns and helped people claim $2.7 million in tax refunds, including earned income tax credits. The VITA program has been completing tax returns since 2010.

Those wanting to use the program will need a photo ID; Social Security card and date of birth for each person listed on the return; individual taxpayer identification numbers; W-2s, 1099s; a copy of the previous year’s tax return; documentation of deductions; and bank account information for direct deposit. Preparers may request more documentation.

Families with household incomes less than $72,000 have the option to file their returns online for free at https://olt.com/main/vita.

This year’s appointments will be different because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Certain protocols are in place to protect preparers and individuals.

“This year all tax preparation will be by appointment only,” Knight said. “Masks must be worn at all times, and clients will be asked to check in when they arrive and to wait in their vehicles until they are contacted to come into the office. Plexi-glass shields will be used for all appointments and appropriate cleaning protocol will take place between appointments. All necessary precautions will be in place to keep our employees and clients safe.”

For information call, 918-453-5536.


VITA Sites & Appointment Times

Tahlequah: Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Tsa-La-Gi Community Room, 17695 S. Muskogee Ave. Call 918-453- 5536.

Tahlequah: Housing Authority of Cherokee Nation, 110 McSpadden Court, for HACN tenants only from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 918-456-5482, ext. 1140.

Westville: Feb. 18, March 11 and March 25 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Westville Public Library, 116 N. Williams. Call 918-207-3939.

Pryor: Mondays from 9:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at CN Career Services, 2945 Hwy 69A. Call 918-772-4213.

Stilwell: Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at CN Career Services, 219 W. Oak St. Call 918-453-5536.

Sallisaw: Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Housing Authority of Cherokee Nation, 2260 W. Cherokee. Call 918-774-0770, ext. 1 or ext. 2.

Catoosa: Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Housing Authority of Cherokee Nation, 310 Chief Stand Watie. Call 918-342-6814.

Claremore: Mondays from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Housing Authority of Cherokee Nation, 23205 S. Hwy 66. Call 918-342-6807 or 918-342-6814.

Jay: Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Housing Authority of Cherokee Nation, 1300 W. Cherokee. Call 918-253-4078.

Muskogee: Every Thursday in February, March 11 and March 18 from 9:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Three Rivers Health Clinic, 1001 S. 41 St. E. Call 918-453-5672.

Vinita: Feb. 3 and 24, March 10 and 24 and April 14 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Vinita Health Center, 27371 S. 4410 Road. Call 918-342-6807.

Ochelata: Feb. 10, March 5 and March 31 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Cooweescoowee Health Clinic, 39500 W. 2900 Road. Call 918-342-6807.

Nowata: Feb. 17, March 17 and April 7 from 9:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Will Rogers Health Clinic, 1020 Lenape Drive. Call 918-342-6807.
About the Author
Lindsey Bark grew up and resides in the Tagg Flats community in Delaware County. She graduated magna cum laude from Northeastern State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, emphasizing ...
lindsey-bark@cherokee.org • 918-772-4223
Lindsey Bark grew up and resides in the Tagg Flats community in Delaware County. She graduated magna cum laude from Northeastern State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, emphasizing ...

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