STEP seeks tax volunteers

Volunteers are sought to help low-income taxpayers in Franklin and Patrick counties prepare returns for the next tax season.
Solutions That Empower People (STEP) offers an annual free Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program that helps taxpayers find credits and save ax preparation fees for those earning $54,000 or less.
With the help of volunteers, 607 individual federal tax returns were prepared for residents in Franklin and Patrick counties last year. According to STEP’s Tax Assistance Coordinator Yvonne Anderson, taxpayers received a combined total federal refund of $797,624, or an average of $1,570 each. Almost 600 state tax returns were prepared with cumulative refunds totaling $118,452.
In addition, more than $121,000 in preparation fees was saved for taxpayers who took advantage of STEP’s VITA program.
“Our volunteers are trained to help taxpayers find credits they are eligible for” such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Anderson said. Other credits they may qualify for include the Child Tax Credit and the Education Credit.
Volunteers will be certified as tax preparers by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) when they complete training, which will be offered as needed in Patrick and Franklin Counties through Feb. 6, 2017.

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