Free tax preparation is available every Tuesday evening at Stuarts Draft High School and Thursday nights through mid April at the Booker T. Washington Center on Johnson Street in Staunton. VITA programs provide IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers who work one-on-one with families and individuals to help file their tax returns and ensure that they receive the tax credits for which they qualify. Mary Baldwin College students and community volunteers are certified to provide services and have helped to file over 120 returns so far this tax season.
Typical tax preparation fees can range over $200, meaning that area residents have saved over $24,000 by utilizing CAPSAW’s Valley VITA program.
Certified financial educators are available at each site for one on one consultation. Classes in basic financial topics will be offered through collaboration with the Greater Augusta United Way.
The IRS estimates that one-fourth of eligible people could miss out on credits including the Earned Income Tax Credit because they don’t know about it, don’t know that they qualify, or don’t know where to find free tax filing assistance.
“Workers who earned $51,000 or less in 2012 and were raising children should see if they qualify for the EIC,” said Deb Koons, CAPSAW’s EITC and site Coordinator. “Single workers not raising children might qualify for a smaller credit,” Ms. Koons added. “But you must file a federal income tax return to claim the EIC – even if you don’t earn enough to owe any federal income taxes.”
So far, Valley VITA clients have filed for over $90,000 in EIC credits for a total of over $200,000 in federal returns; all for FREE. “Why pay when you can get your taxes done for free?” Anna Leavitt, CAPSAW Coordinator asks. “Our tax assistance sites help families maximize their tax credits and allow them to pay bills and save for the future. Often our clients have had their returns prepared for a fee in the past. Now they are savvy users of area resources and have a little more money to show for it.”
Tax assistance is available through April 11th. Please call 221-1654 to schedule an appointment. Walk-in’s will be served if time allows.