Free tax-preparation assistance program begins Monday - East Valley Tribune: Business

Free tax-preparation assistance program begins Monday

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Posted: Friday, January 31, 2014 11:19 am

If you earned less than $52,000 last year, or are elderly or disabled, you qualify for free income tax return assistance that could yield a surprisingly large refund check. Eighty trained volunteers will begin preparing returns on Monday (Feb. 3) at six locations as part of Mesa United Way's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

"Many lower income wage earners aren't aware that they may qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which can put extra money in their pockets even if they paid little or nothing taxes," said MUW Project Manager Don Jensen. "The EITC provides a much needed financial boost for millions of hard-working Americans, but about one in five people who qualify don't receive it because they're not aware of it or don't file the proper return."

The Internal Revenue Service has declared this Saturday (Jan. 31) as National EITC Day to raise awareness about the credit as the tax season kicks off.

Last year, Mesa VITA volunteers helped local residents get almost $4 million in refunds and credits, Jensen said. "That's money that not only can help you pay for utilities and rent, but also helps the local economy."

Mesa VITA volunteers undergo extensive training and IRS certification to ensure tax returns are prepared accurately and that every available deduction and credit is applied, Jensen said.

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