Group offers free tax assistancePublished 12:18pm Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Tax season is just around the corner and Volunteer Connections of Central Alabama is again offering free tax and electronic filing assistance.
“I’m excited we’re getting started,” said Carly Cummins, project director.
VCCA is offering free tax assistance under the IRS Tax Counseling for the Elderly program, which provides free tax help to people ages 60 and older, and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, which offers free tax help to low-to-moderate income people (generally an annual income of less than $52,000).
Cummins said in addition to IRS certified volunteers preparing taxes for those 60 and over and those with low-to-moderate-incomes, VCCA will also participate in the Facilitated Self-Assistance (FSA) Program for the first time this year.
Those who have an annual income of less than $57,000 may complete their taxes free of charge online at vcca.blog.com and will have phone and e-mail access to IRS trained volunteers for questions or concerns.
Tax preparation began at the VCCA’s Highway 280 location Monday and will continue until tax time.
“We are first come, first serve,” said Jim Ayre, VCCA volunteer and board of directors chairman. “Right now there is no problem because we aren’t as busy, but some days we’ll have taxpayers lined up on benches outside.”
Ayre said the IRS is still in the process of revising software, but most taxpayers may have their taxes prepared.
“The IRS isn’t accepting any returns until Jan. 30,” Ayre said. “Most people can come in and we can enter them in system, but their tax returns will process when the IRS begins accepting them.”
Ayre cautioned that while the IRS estimated tax returns would be direct deposited in 7-10 days last year, this year the estimate is 21 days.
“The money may or may not be in taxpayers’ accounts within 21 days,” Ayre said. “Just in case, the IRS is advising people not to plan on making purchases with the money right away.”
Cummins said preference will be given to seniors 60 and older with no income limit, taxpayers with income less than $52,000 or disabled taxpayers through February, but all will be served in March or April. Taxpayers will be assisted in the order they are registered.
The tax assistance site will be open Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. through the end of February. Beginning in March, the VCCA will only be preparing taxes on Mondays and Tuesdays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. The VCCA will again resume Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursday tax preparation from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 1-15. They ask taxpayers to arrive and register for assistance at least one hour before closing time.
For more information or questions, visit www.vcca.blog.com or call 256-234-0347.