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CAPSAW free tax prep services begin in February

The Community Action Partnership of Staunton, Augusta and Waynesboro (CAPSAW) announced the opening of its free tax preparation program, Valley VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) in February.

tax-headerTaxpayers will have expanded opportunities to file both their federal and state taxes for free.  Options include appointment and walk-in based services at the Booker T. Washington Center and Staunton Creative Community Fund in Staunton, at the United Way of Greater Augusta in Fishersville or at Stuarts Draft High School.

Qualifying families can also prepare their own taxes through:  myfreetaxes.com/ValleyVITA.

“Many people are comfortable doing their own taxes from home,” said capsaw coordinator Anna Leavitt. “Using myfreetaxes.com/ValleyVITA, you can file both your federal and state taxes for free.  If you use traditional tax software you typically pay a fee to file state returns.  Using this site will allow you to do so for no additional cost.  Clients no longer have to physically come to a VITA site to save money on their tax preparation fees.”

Over the past three tax seasons volunteers filed over 400 federal and state returns resulting in refunds valued at over $680,000.  Deb Koons, EITC Coordinator for CAPSAW, explained that training materials and support are provided by the IRS.

“Valley VITA clients have saved over $89,000 in preparation fees since 2011 – money that was likely spent in our community,” Koons said.

Leavitt and Koons say that eligibility requirements have expanded to include families making less than $51,000 a year with the myfreetaxes.com/ValleyVITA having a higher income limit.

“Why pay anything when we can provide quality work for free?” asked Koons.

This year clients will be able to take advantage of expanded economic stability programming including one on one consultations with trained Economic Education Volunteers and classes provided throughout the year making this an improved choice for area consumers.  Individual Development Accounts, a matched savings program, will be offered through the Staunton Creative Community Fund as well.

Tax preparation will be offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting in February.  Please contact Valley VITA by calling540-221-1654 to determine how to meet your family’s tax needs.  Appointments are available at each site through April. myfreetaxes.com/ValleyVITA can be accessed at any time.

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