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Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much does this service cost?

Nothing. It is absolutely free!

2. What are the eligibility requirements to be a client?

  • Income Limitation:
    • Carolina Law VITA will not prepare returns for households making greater than $62,000 or individuals making greater than $52,000.
  • Form Limitations:
    • Carolina Law VITA will not prepare these forms under normal circumstances:
      • Form 1040 Schedules:
        • Schedule C (Profit or Loss from a Business), unless you meet Schedule C-EZ criteria but your business expenses are between $5,000 and $10,000.
        • Schedule D (complicated and advanced Sch Ds, i.e. those involving a high number of transactions)
        • Schedule E (Rental Income)
      • Other forms:
        • Form SS-5 (Request for a SSN)
        • Form 2106 (Unreimbursed Employee Business Expenses)
        • Form 3903 (Moving Expenses)
        • Form 8606 (Nondeductible IRAs)
        • Form 8615 (children under 18 with high investment income, AKA "kiddie tax")
  • Other Limitations:
    • Carolina Law VITA will not prepare military, international (US tax returns with foreign-source income), or prior year amended returns. If you need one of these services, contact another VITA site or a paid professional preparer.
    • You must be a US citizen, permanent resident (green card holder), or visa holder in order to use our services.

3. I am a foreign student at UNC, am I eligible?

Yes, as long as we have space available. We have limited capacity for foreign returns since not all volunteers are certified in these areas. Please contact Yibing Chen if you fall into this category and we will do our best to fit you it. If we are unable to prepare your return, please seek assistance from the Office of International Students at UNC.

4. We are a non-profit organization that is interested in using this service for our clients, are we eligible?

Yes. You are eligible to use our services, but please be aware that we have strict rules in place that you will need to meet in order to qualify. We only offer our services at the law school (Van Hecke-Wettach Hall) and do not come to any other locations, under any circumstances. You must schedule an appointment for your client(s) using our online scheduling system. We consider every single client that uses our services to be UNC's client, regardless of where they are referred from. This means that you CANNOT count the clients that you refer to us for funding or statistical purposes, because that results in an illegal double counting. If you do not meet these rules, then we regret to inform you that we cannot assist you and your clients. We also do not partner with any particular organization(s) under any circumstances. Instead, we prefer to make our services freely available to everyone.

5. Do you have walk-in services available?

Yes. Appointments are preferred, but every clinic will be open to walk-ins. However, walk-ins will only be fit in if time permits (i.e. if there is a cancellation or an open appointment, or if we have extra volunteers). If you come to a clinic without an appointment, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to prepare your return that day. We also will not accept walk-ins within 1 hour of closing time. If possible, please make an appointment since appointments are preferred.

6. How long will it take to prepare my return?

Every situation is uniquely different. Your return can take 30 minutes or it can take over 1.5 hours. It all depends on your individual situation. We ask that you give us about 1.5 hours to prepare your return. This is our estimated standard time allotted for every client. Please arrive promptly at your appointment time. If you arrive more than 15 minutes late, we reserve the right to give your appointment to a walk-in. Our site closes promptly at 9:00pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays and 3:00pm on Saturdays. If you show up within an hour of closing time, we will not prepare your return and we will not reschedule your appointment. You will have to try to walk-in on another day.

7. My spouse and I would like to file a joint return, what do you need from us?

If you are married and wish to file a joint return, then BOTH spouses must be present. Your spouse does not need to be there the entire time, but he/she needs to be there when you both pick a pin number (authorizing us to e-file on your behalf) and when you both sign the e-file authorization form. We cannot e-file a joint return for you if your spouse is not present. Also, please bring all your required documents with you, including the prior year's return.

8. Do you prepare state returns? What if I have to file multiple state returns?

Yes, we prepare state returns. We can also prepare and e-file all of your state returns, including multiple state returns, if you wish.

9. Do you prepare amended returns or prior years' returns?

No. We do not prepare these types of returns.

10. Can I just mail in my return rather than have you e-file it for me?

Yes. However, we strongly recommend that you e-file because it is much faster and much more convenient. You will also get a faster refund, usually within 2 weeks or so, when you opt for direct deposit. If you do not want to e-file, then we can print out your return and give it to you to mail in. You have until April 15th to file the return and pay any outstanding taxes owed.

11. What do I have to bring with me?

  • Required: Photo identification (driver's license, state ID card, passport, visa, or school ID card)
    • If you are a foreign student or scholar, you MUST bring your passport
  • Required: Social Security cards (or ITIN cards) for taxpayer, spouse, and all dependents
    • Copies of Social Security cards or ITN cards are acceptable
  • Wage and Earning Statement(s) from all employers: W-2
  • Interest and Dividend Statement(s): 1099-INT, 1099-DIV
  • Statements for other sources of income: W-2G, 1099R, SSA-1099, alimony, 1099-MISC, etc.
  • Tuition statement for qualified education expense: 1098-T
  • Receipts or other proof of purchase for required textbooks and other educational expenses
  • Child care provider's tax identification number (either the provider's SSN or the provider's business Employer Identification Number)
  • Statements and receipts for itemized deductions (mortgage interest statements, property tax bills, charitable donation receipts, medical expense receipts, etc.)
  • Receipts for business expenses
  • A check, if using direct deposit for refunds (it must have the bank routing number and account number)
  • A copy of last year's tax return, if available
  • If a couple is filing jointly and electronically, both spouses must be present to sign the forms
UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106
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