By Michele Dotson  dotson.michele@minthilltimes.com

The State Employees Credit Union (SECU) in Mint Hill is offering free and low cost tax preparation for anyone meeting eligibility requirements. The service is available for members and non-members alike.

To be eligible for the free Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), a tax payer’s income must be $52,000 or less for 2013.

The VITA program is staffed by IRS-certified volunteers who will provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals in local communities. Volunteers can inform taxpayers about special tax credits for which they may qualify such as Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. 

VITA sites are generally located at centrally located community and neighborhood libraries, schools, shopping malls, and other convenient locations.

Tax payers who do not qualify for the free service may still be eligible for SECU’s low cost tax preparation program.

Volunteers can assist with all versions of Form 1040, including itemized deductions, IRA deductions, retirement income, self-employment income (on Schedule C-EZ), and Health Savings Account (HSA) transactions.

SECU tax preparers cannot complete forms containing income from states other than North Carolina, rental, farm, military or foreign income, most self-employment income that requires a full Schedule C; adoption credits, complicated or advanced Schedule D (Capital Gains and Losses), non-cash charitable contributions exceeding $500; or deductions for business use of the home.

Be sure to inquire about the documents you will need to bring to your appointment, such as a picture IDs, social security cards, 2012 tax return, as well as income and deduction documents including W-2s, mortgage interest payments, etc.

The Mint Hill State Employee’s Credit Union is located at 11529 Lawyers Rd, Mint Hill. Call (704) 573-3447 to schedule an appointment.