Cherokee Nation again offering VITA tax prep service

BY D. SEAN ROWLEY
Senior Reporter
02/07/2020 10:30 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Steven Hair, a tax preparer for Cherokee Nation Commerce Services, was among those providing Volunteer Income Tax Assistance services on Feb. 6 in the Tsa-La-Gi Community Room on the Tribal Complex in Tahlequah. D. SEAN ROWLEY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH – Taxpayers living in households within eligibility limits can schedule appointments with the Cherokee Nation to prepare and file their federal and state tax forms for 2019 at no cost.

In partnership with the IRS, the tribe’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program is again offering tax preparation services to eligible families, as it has for more than 30 years. In 2019, 1,966 families used the service.

“The Cherokee Nation has provided free tax preparation for low-to-moderate income taxpayers through the VITA program, completing 17,814 tax returns since 2010, which has enabled VITA clients to receive $23.9 million in tax refunds since that time,” Commerce Services Executive Director Anna Knight said. “Free VITA tax preparation saves families an average of $200 in tax service fees. Commerce staff are trained to prepare tax returns, maximizing tax refunds through deductions and tax credits.”

VITA is operated by Commerce Services and open to Native and non-Native families with annual household incomes not exceeding $55,952. In addition to free filing, the program allows taxpayers to hold one-on-one discussions about their filing options.

Appointments can be scheduled at 13 tax prep sites in 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.

Those using the VITA service 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 suggest individuals or families with less than $69,000 income visit www.myfreetaxes.com to prepare their own federal and state taxes at no cost to the filer.

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

SITE TIMES AND DAYS

• Tahlequah – open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Tsa-La-Gi Community Room, 17695 S. Muskogee Ave. Closed Feb. 20, March 4-5. Call 918-453-5536. Walk-ins accepted.

• Pryor – open Thursdays from 9:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at CN Career Services, 2945 Highway 69A. Call 918-453-5536.

• Westville – open Feb. 18, March 10 and March 24 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 CN Career Services offices, 219 W. Oak St. Call 918-453-5536.

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

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

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

• 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 Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at CN Food Distribution Site, 904 Owen Walters Blvd. Closed Feb. 18, March 10 and March 24. Call 918-207-3939.

• Muskogee – open every Tuesday in February, and March 10 and March 17 from 9:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Three Rivers Health Clinic, 1001 S. 41st St. East. Call 918-453-5536.

• Vinita – open Feb. 5, Feb. 26, March 11 and March 25 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Vinita Health Center, 27371 S. 4410 Road. Call 918-342-6807. 

• Ochelata – open Feb. 12, March 4 and April 1 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Cooweescoowee Health Clinic, 39500 W. 2900 Road. Call 918-342-6807.

• Nowata – open Feb. 19, March 18 and April 8 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Will Rogers Health Clinic, 1020 Lenape Drive. Call 918-342-6807.
About the Author
Sean Rowley was hired by the Cherokee Phoenix at the beginning of 2019. Sean was born a long time ago in Tulsa, where he grew up and attended Booker T. Washington High School as a freshman before moving to Pawnee County and graduating from Cleveland High School in 1987. 

He graduated sans honors from Northeastern State University in 1992 with a bachelor of arts in mass communication with emphases in advertising and public relati ...
david-rowley@cherokee.org • 918-453-5560
Sean Rowley was hired by the Cherokee Phoenix at the beginning of 2019. Sean was born a long time ago in Tulsa, where he grew up and attended Booker T. Washington High School as a freshman before moving to Pawnee County and graduating from Cleveland High School in 1987. He graduated sans honors from Northeastern State University in 1992 with a bachelor of arts in mass communication with emphases in advertising and public relati ...

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