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Story Archives: Local organization ready to help citizens file taxes
|Local organization ready to help citizens file taxes|
The local Pilgrim Missionary Community Development Outreach Inc., The United Way of Northeast Louisiana, the IRS are offering free tax filing assistance to low-to-moderate households in Franklin Parish and other rural communities.
The group is promoting the Earned Income Tax Credit, which can result in thousands of dollars in refunds to tax filers who qualify.
"This is the 2008 kick-off of "Earn it! Keep it! Save it! Northeast Louisiana," which provides free tax return preparation, e-filing services and assistance with filing tax credit claims to Northeast Louisiana households that earned less than $39,783 in 2007," said Janie Milby, director of marketing for the United Way.
The United Way has a special "211" phone number for people to call to for information on where to go for tax assistance.
In Franklin Parish, local citizens trained in tax preparation by the IRS are operating a "Volunteer Income Tax Assistance" (VITA) site at the outreach center, located at 105 Wood St.
The center is staffed with volunteers who use IRS software to compile and electronically file personal tax forms. The volunteers are there 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The deadline for filing taxes is April 15.
No appointments are necessary, however those using the service may have a short wait.
Two of the biggest hurdles facing this outreach campaign are first, that people are often fearful of dealing with the IRS and second, they want the immediate tax refund offered by commercial tax filing centers.
The Rev. Edward January, director of the VITA site, encouraged people to use this free service instead of paying several hundred dollars to a tax service for filing their taxes and getting an immediate refund loan. Refunds filed at the VITA arrive in 10 to 30 days, depending on whether the refund is by direct deposit or a check by mail.
For more information dial the United Way's "211" or call the Pilgrim Missionary Community Development Outreach center at 435-4302.
To qualify for Earned Income Tax Credit, you must:
• Have earned income from a job
• File a federal income tax return
• Have an adjusted gross income of less than $37,783
Required documents to bring to the VITA site:
• Social Security cards for all members of household
• Birth dates for self, spouse and dependents
• Photo ID
• Documentation of all income
• Documentation of childcare expenses