Since 2006, White Earth Investment Initiative has hosted a free Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site at the Shooting Star Casino where taxpayers can have their returns prepared for free by trained community volunteers. In 2019, White Earth Investment Initiative’s VITA site prepared 495 federal returns and facilitated the return of more than $821,000 to the community by way of federal tax refunds. 

Sue Trnka, Community Services Coordinator

The VITA site will be open in the Shooting Star Casino, Hotel & Event Center from Tuesday, January 21 through Thursday, March 5. Days and hours of operation will be Mondays through Thursdays from Noon to 8pm. Information about how to schedule an appointment will be available to the community on the White Earth Investment Initiative website on January 14.

Volunteer greeters and tax preparers are needed for the 2020 tax season. Community volunteers are key to the success of the VITA program because they help low- and moderate-income community members meet their tax obligations quickly and easily. Many VITA customers qualify for important tax credits, such as the federal Earned Income Tax Credit and Child tax Credit and the Minnesota Working Family Tax Credit. Tax filers may also be eligible for federal educational tax credits like the American Opportunity Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit.

“Our volunteers are the most important part of our VITA program. They receive specialized tax training and work directly with community members to complete their returns accurately and confidentially, said Sue Trnka, WEll’s Community Services Coordinator. “The returns we complete are not complex and volunteers are fully trained and supported by our staff, so anyone who is interested in helping should reach out for more information.”

Volunteer training will be facilitated by White Earth Investment Initiative from 4:30pm to 7:30pm on January 6, 7, and 8 and from 9:30am to 4:30pm on January 11. Volunteers attending training will receive mileage reimbursement, and meals and snacks will be provided. At the conclusion of training, volunteers will be trained and certified as greeters or preparers and must commit to following IRS national ethics standards for quality and confidentiality.

For more information about becoming a VITA volunteer, contact Sue Trnka at 218-844-7029 or strnka@mmcdc.com. Preregistration for training is greatly appreciated but not required.

The tax site is a service of the White Earth Investment Initiative and is made possible by Shooting Star Casino, Hotel & Event Center, Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation, the Internal Revenue Service, and Minnesota Department of Revenue.