The Weekly Deep Dive

February 16th, 2023                                   Issue #154 - Free File

You might qualify for IRS Free File. Here are a few things to know about filing state tax returns through Free File:

  • The income limit is $73,000 for IRS Free File.
  • Taxpayers must complete their federal tax return before starting their state return if they are using the same software for both.
  • Not all IRS Free File partners offer free state return filing, and those that do may not offer it for all states.
  • Some IRS Free File partners will charge a fee for state tax return preparation. If a taxpayer uses the IRS Free File online lookup tool to find an offer from a Free File provider, they should carefully review the offer to see if state returns are included for free or with a fee.

Some states have their own free filing options for state returns. Taxpayers can visit their home state’s department of revenue website for details.

Guided Tax Preparation
(for AGI $73,000 or less)

  • Free federal return if you qualify
  • Answer simple questions
  • Guided preparation does all the math
  • Tax filing done on an IRS partner site
  • Some state tax preparation and filing are free

Use Free Guided Tax Preparation

More information:
IRS issues guidance on state tax payments to help taxpayers

Educational Opportunities
Click here! and check out their list of available classes. Courses range from Introduction to Excel, Marketing and Advertising for Small Food Businesses, Branding and Social Media Marketing to name a few. Check out the offering below!
Micro Business Spotlight

Inspired by a shared love of skiing in Vermont, we founded Treeline Terrains to map the most important experiences and places in your life. Carved from locally-sourced wood, each 3D model uses satellite data to exactly replicate the trails, mountains, lakes, and valleys where your memories were made.

(802) 214-2545

We want to feature your business in The Micro Business Spotlight!!

All Micro Business Development Program businesses are eligible for this free advertising opportunity!
Please Email Adam at for more information.
Grants and Opportunities

Sole Proprietor Stabilization Grants

Vermont Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) CARES ACT: Third Round of Funding

Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission (TRORC) is collecting applications from interested businesses for technical assistance in 3 areas:

  • Website Development / Enhancement
  • Financial Management (Bookkeeping) and Record-Keeping
  • Branding and Marketing (digital, print, audio)

Business applicants will receive personalized technical assistance, not grant money. Applications are received on a rolling basis and funding is available on a first-come, first serve basis.

To be eligible, you must:

  1. be located in one of the following counties: Caledonia, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Orange, Orleans, or Windsor.
  2. be a sole proprietorship, an S-Corp, or a Partnership. Note: No more than 2 households can make up a Partnership or an S-Corp.
  3. NOT issue W-2s to any employees.

NOTE: There are additional eligibility criteria you must meet; a full list can be found in the application.

This program is limited by household income. The total income of all your household members cannot exceed any of the thresholds listed here.

How does the program work?

In your application, you will pick what kind of technical assistance you want. If your application is accepted, we will connect you with one of our service providers who can assist you. You’ll communicate with the service provider to establish a scope of work, and then TRORC will pay the service provider up to $2,000 for the technical assistance they give you.

How do I participate?

If your business meets the eligibility criteria listed above, please fill out and submit an application (Word or pdf file options available, see below). The application contains a full list of all eligibility criteria for this program.

Application, Microsoft Word

Application, PDF

Community Recovery and Revitalization Program (CRRP)

The CRRP will provide funding for projects that spur economic recovery and revitalization in communities across the state. Eligible uses for these funds include capital improvements related to the renovation or creation of childcare and affordable housing for low and moderate income households, capital projects that assist nonprofits and small businesses in industries* most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and municipal water supply and wastewater projects that build housing or create jobs through business creation and expansion. These recovery funds are intended to retain and expand existing businesses and nonprofit organizations with a preference for projects that primarily serve BIPOC populations and projects located in regions and communities with declining or stagnant grand list values.

Click Here for More Information
Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) have gotten economic recovery funding in total of 19 million dollars from the legislature to offer to businesses in form of forgivable business loans. 
  • The business must have been in operation before March 13, 2020.
  • VEDA added that there are groups of businesses that are going to be prioritized in the first 30 days of launch including Travel & Tourism, Restaurants, Eating Establishments, Lodging, Childcare, Agriculture, and BIPOC-owned businesses in all industry sectors.
More eligibility information can be found on the website linked HERE.
Creative Futures Grant Program 
The Vermont Arts Council is now accepting applications for its Creative Futures Grant Program to help the creative sector recover from economic losses due to the pandemic.
  • Creative sector businesses include culture and heritage, design, film and media, literary arts and publishing, performing arts, specialty foods, and visual arts and crafts.
  • Grants of up to $200,000 will be available to creative sector non-profits and for-profit entities, including sole proprietors, that have sustained substantial losses from the pandemic.
  • Funds may be used to cover a wide range of regular operating expenses, including payroll and office expenses, rent, mortgage, utilities, and costs associated with ongoing COVID-19 mitigation and prevention. 
The Council will host two virtual grant-seeker workshops for the first round on Monday, September 19 from 10-11 am, and again from 1-2 pm. A recording of the workshops will be available afterward. For full details and to register for the webinars visit the Vermont Arts Council website.
Creative Futures Fund Website

Justice Forward Fund

Through the Justice Forward Fund, a portion of Vermont Community Loan Fund's impact investment capital is directed to serving Vermonters traditionally and generationally excluded from conventional financial markets and services.
  • Offered to Black Vermonters, Indigenous Vermonters, Vermonters of Color; and New Americans
  • The Justice Forward Fund serves Vermonters who have not yet had the opportunity to build wealth. Eligible borrowers include small businesses, including sole proprietors, where BIPOC Vermonters own at least 50% of the business, nonprofit organizations and community facilities, where (a) BIPOC Vermonters serve as leadership on the staff and/or Board of Directors, and/or (b) the organization's mission explicitly and directly serves BIPOC Vermonters, early care & learning businesses, and affordable housing developed, built and/or controlled by systematically disenfranchised Vermonters
  • The Vermont Community Loan Fund is committed to preserving and growing wealth within communities of color in Vermont. Justice Forward Fund loans will have a reduced interest rate no more than 3.0%, with lower rates available based upon the borrower's net worth.
  • Justice Forward Fund loans will have a loan size between $1,000 and $40,000.
  • Learn more through the website by clicking here.
Eligible Vermont homeowners will be awarded Vermont HAP funds for the purpose of preventing home foreclosure and homeowner displacement. This can include assistance with overdue mortgage payments, homeowners association fees, property taxes, and/or utilities.

Eligibility criteria

Homeowners must meet the following criteria to be determined eligible.

Have an income equal to or less than 150% of the area median income.
Click here for more information on income limits.

Experienced a financial hardship associated with the coronavirus pandemic after January 21, 2020.

Financial hardships can include: job loss, a reduction in income, or increased costs due to illness or the need to care for a family member.

Applying for expenses related to your primary residence, located in Vermont.

Click HERE to Apply

The Final Word

Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” 

– Napoleon Hill
Forward Forward
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