Cherokee Nation to again offer VITA preparation service

Senior Reporter
01/09/2019 08:30 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 – Beginning Jan. 15, income-eligible households can schedule appointments with the Cherokee Nation to prepare and file state and federal income taxes at no cost.

In partnership with the IRS, the tribe’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program has offered tax preparation services to eligible families for more than 30 years. In 2018, 1,589 families saved an average of $200 in tax service fees.

“Cherokee Nation’s longstanding partnership with the IRS helps low-to-moderate-income families keep the money they’ve earned and take advantage of tax credits they may be due, bringing additional money back into the household,” Shay Smith, CN Small Business Assistance Center director, said.

VITA is operated by the tribe’s Commerce Services and open to Native and non-Native families with annual household incomes that do not exceed $55,000. In addition to free filing, the program gives taxpayers an opportunity to hold one-on-one discussions concerning their options.
Appointments can be scheduled at 13 tax prep sites including Tahlequah, Pryor, Westville, Stilwell, Sallisaw, Catoosa, Claremore, Jay, Salina, Muskogee, Vinita, Ochelata and Nowata. Walk-ins will be accepted at the Tahlequah and Westville sites.

Taxpayers must provide 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 additional documents.

Commerce Services officials also suggests individuals or families with less than $66,000 income visit to prepare their own federal and state taxes at no cost to the taxpayer.

For information or to make an appointment, call 918-453-5536.

Each site will be open at certain times and on certain days of the week:
• Tahlequah – open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at CN O-Si-Yo Room, 17695 S. Muskogee Ave. Call 918-453-5536. Walk-ins accepted.

• Pryor – open Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at CN Career Services, 2945 Highway 69A. Call 918-772-4219.

• Westville – open Feb. 21, March 7 and March 21 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Westville Public Library, 116 N. Williams. Walk-ins only.

• Stilwell – open Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Wilma Mankiller Clinic, Highway 51 East. Call 918-453-5536.

• Sallisaw – open Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation, 2260 W. Cherokee.

• Catoosa – open Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation, 310 Chief Stand Watie. Call 918-342-2607.

• Claremore – open Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation, 23205 S. Highway 66. Call 918-342-6807.

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

• Salina – open Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at CN Food Distribution Site, 904 Owen Walters Blvd. Call 918-207-3939.

• Muskogee – open every Monday in Feb, and March 8 and March 15 from 9:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Three Rivers Health Clinic, 1001 S. 41st St. East. Call 918-772-4219.

• Vinita – open Feb. 7, Feb. 28, March 21 and April 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Vinita Health Center, 27371 S. 4410 Road. Call 918-342-2607.

• Ochelata – open Feb. 14, March 7 and March 28 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Cooweescoowee Health Clinic, 39500 W. 2900 Road. Call 918-342-2607.

• Nowata – open Feb. 21, March 14 and April 4 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Will Rogers Health Clinic, 1020 Lenape Drive. Call 918-342-2607.
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