Frequently Asked Questions

Most low-income and moderate-income people can use free tax preparation. Our volunteers are trained and certified to prepare most individual tax returns and limited self-employment returns. If we are trained to prepare it, we will. A few locations have an income limit of $50,270 (see notes in our site list for VITA locations). To learn more about the types of returns our volunteers are trained to prepare, see What returns can you prepare?.

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Where are your sites located? Do I need an appointment?

All over Oregon. Click here to find a site near you.

Some sites are walk-in, and some take appointments. See list for details.

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How much does it cost to get my taxes done at CASH Oregon, an AARP Tax-Aide, or VITA tax site?

Absolutely nothing! We offer FREE preparation and FREE e-filing for both Federal and Oregon returns.

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What should I bring?

Bring your photo ID, Social Security card or ITIN letter for everyone on your return, and all the documents related to your income and tax-related expenses for the year. Also, bring a copy of last year’s tax return if you have it.

Click here for a complete printable list of documents to bring.

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What if I don't have my W-2's?

Your employer has until February 1st to get you your W-2. If it’s after February 1, contact your employer and make sure they have your current mailing address. If it’s after February 15, contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.

To see an IRS video about the process, click here.

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When will I get my refund?

Because we e-file at all of our sites and offer direct deposit, your refund can be in your hands in 10-14 days! Trust us, that's fast. For those that want to receive a check in the mail, the refund check takes 3-4 weeks.

If you’ve already filed, you can use these tools to track your refund. Please wait 1 week after e-filing to check on your refund, and have your tax return in front of you when you use the tools.

Track your IRS Refund with this link or call 1-800-829-1954
Track your Oregon Refund with this link or call 1-800-356-4222
      and press 1, then 3

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Who will prepare my taxes?

IRS-Certified Volunteers will prepare your taxes. All of our volunteers must pass yearly exams on ethics, confidentiality, and the most common personal income tax issues.  Returns are prepared electronically with error checking software and quality reviewed by a second preparer. An accurate return is our top priority.

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Do you offer free tax preparation in languages other than English?

Yes! We have tax preparers and interpreters that speak Spanish, Cantonese, Madarin, Russian and Vietnamese, just to name a few. Check out our site listings to see which sites offer multi-lingual tax help.

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What returns can you prepare? Is my situation too complicated?

Our volunteers are trained in the most common tax issues.

We can help you with...

Earned wages from a job
Tax Credits
       Earned Income Tax Credit
      Child Tax Credit
      Education Credit
      Credit for care of a child or dependent so you can work
      Residential Energy Credit
Oregon Elderly Rental Assistance (Click here for more
      information)

A new or amended return from a year before 2012. (See
      below for more information)
Cancelled debt from a credit card or foreclosure. (See
      below for more information)
Interest from a bank, mutual funds or dividends from stock.
Income from a pension, 401(K) or IRA, including an early
      withdrawal from a retirement account.
Simple sale of stock or primary residence.
Some small businesses and independent contracting. (See
      below for more information)

Some common questions we get are:

What if I made donations to charity?
We can help you with cash (or check!) donations you made to qualifying charitable institutions, if you have a receipt or cancelled check. We can also help you with non-cash donations (such as furniture, clothes, etc.) as long as their total value is $5,000 or less.

What if I’ve bought and sold stocks in the past year?
We can help you with simple stock transactions as long as you have all the proper documentation of when you bought it, how many shares and how you how much you bought it for.

What if I have income from a state other than Oregon?
We can only do Oregon tax returns. Washington does not have a state return and we can prepare your federal return if you live in Washington.

What if I owned a home last year?
If you live in your home we can help you deduct your mortgage interest and property taxes.  We cannot prepare taxes for rental income.

If your home was foreclosed and you received a Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt, we may be able to help depending on the circumstances ask for details at your tax site.

We cannot do taxes for rental properties.

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What if I have a small business, was self-employed, an independent contractor or was paid in cash?

Please have all of your income and expenses totaled as best you can before coming to a tax site. You can use this printable organizer to help you get started.

We can only help you with your return if all of the following apply:

Less than $10,000 in expenses
A profit, not a loss for the year
No inventory at any time during the year
No employees
No equipment that you need to depreciate
No loans that you need to amortize
You operated only one business/sole proprietorship during
      the year (If married, each spouse can operate one.)
You do not deduct expenses for business use of the home
You do not own rental properties

No matter how big or small your business is, the IRS wants to help you understand the tax issues involved. Check out their Small Business Video Workshop for the big picture and go to the Small Business and Self Employed Help Center to find the details you need to know.

Are YOU making one of the eight most common small business mistakes?Watch this fun video from Foundation Communities in Austin, Texas and find out!

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I haven't filed in a few years. Will you do past year returns?

Many sites are able to prepare prior year returns up to 3 years back – please call ahead to check on the years you need to do. In fact, for years that you were due a refund but didn't claim it, we can go back three years to get you the money you deserve. We can also amend returns up to three years old. Stop by because it may be worth hundreds of dollars!

The IRS wants to help you get back on track, too! Check out this video.

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What if I am not a US Citizen?

We can help you if you have a Social Security Number and a Green Card or if you have an individual Taxpayer identification number (ITIN). (Ask for details.)
An individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) is an identification number that you use when filing you federal and state income taxes if you do not qualify for a social security number.  To be included on the tax return, spouses and dependents must also have an ITIN if they do not have a Social Security Number.

You can apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) at two CASH Oregon and/or AARP Tax-Aide sites. Call for details and hours.

El Programa Hispano (Spanish) - Multnomah County
      Year Round!
      38 NE 3rd Street, Suite 140
      Gresham, OR 97030
      By Appointment: 503-489-6829
Lloyd Center (Spanish) - Multnomah County
      2013 Lloyd Center
      Portland, OR 97232
      During tax season, call ahead walk-in times: 503-243-7765

For more information on ITINs, please visit the IRS website.

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Can I get help applying for Oregon Rental Assistance?

Yes. Elderly Rental Assistance (ERA) is for low-income people age 58 or older who rent their home.

To apply, bring information on all of your income and the amount you paid in 2012 for:

Lights, water, garbage, sewer, and heating.
Rent
Value of your assets such as deposits, investments, stocks and
       property.

To receive your ERA check in November, you must file before July 1 of that year. You can also file for past years, but you will not receive your check for those years until November 2012. For more information on the Oregon Elderly Rental Assistance Program, click here.

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What should I do if I owe taxes?

The best thing to do if you owe taxes is to file your return on time, because it will reduce your interest and penalties! You should always file on time, even if you know you won’t be able to pay.

If you owe taxes to the IRS

Make a one-time payment, learn about payment plans, or
      apply for a payment plan online if you can’t pay your
      balance within 120 days: Click here
Find out more about Online Payment Plans wit hteh Oregon Department of Revenue: Click here
Are you having trouble with the IRS Collections Process?
      Have you received a bill you believe is incorrect? See More
      Tax Help for some organizations that may be able to help.

If you owe taxes to the Oregon Department of Revenue

Make a one-time online payment to the Oregon
      Department of Revenue: Click here
Find out more about Online Payment Plans with the Oregon
      Department of Revenue: Click here
Are you having trouble with the Collections Process? Have
      you received a bill you believe is incorrect? See More Tax
      Help for some organizations that may be able to help with
      your Oregon issue if you also have an associated problem
      with the IRS
, even if the IRS is not contacting you.


How can I contact the IRS and Oregon Department of Revenue?

Lewis & Clark College Legal Clinic www.lclark.edu/law/programs Many languages through interpretive services.
Internal Revenue Service Oregon Department of Revenue
1-800-829-1040 503-378-4988 or 1-800-356-4222
Questions@dor.state.us
Local IRS Office:
1000 SW Main Street
Portland, OR 97214
503-415-7361
Click here for other IRS offices in Oregon.
Main Oregon Department of Revenue:
955 Center Street NE
Salem, OR 97301

Click here for other Oregon DOR offices.

What if I have problems with the IRS?

If you have problems with the IRS, you think the IRS is in error or you are having trouble settling your debt, contact a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC).  There are three clinics in Oregon.

Organization Phone Languages
Catholic Charities
www.catholiccharitiesoregon.org
503-489-6828
888-489-6845
English/Spanish
Legal Aid Services of Oregon
www.lasoregon.org
503-224-4086
888-610-8764
English/Spanish/Russian, Chinese/Others
Lewis & Clark College Legal Clinic
www.lclark.edu/law/programs
503-768-6500 All languages through interpreter services.

What if I want to do my own taxes for free online?

You can file your taxes for free online at one of the Self-Prep tax sites on our list of tax sites. At these sites, a volunteer will be available to answer questions while you file your own tax return online. Both Federal and Oregon e-filing will be free if your income is less than $57,000.

If you want to file your taxes for free online by yourself, follow this link. Your Federal and Oregon e-filing will be free if you meet the income guidelines and you start your return using these links.

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Why CASH?

 

All IRS-certified volunteers at our Tax-Aide sites are trained to make sure you and your family get the maximum refund possible.

Whether you are eligible for the Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, or both, you can be confident that our volunteers will help you get the refunds to which you are entitled.