Prepping for tax time

Published 8:59 am Thursday, January 25, 2007

By Staff
From staff reports
NILES – The Tri-County Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition is offering free tax assistance.
Volunteer tax preparers will be on hand starting Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Niles District Library, 620 E. Main St., and can help claim state and federal individual income tax and returns, as well as all credits and refunds, such as the Home Heating Credit, Child Care Credit, Homestead Property Tax Credit, the Telephone Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Seniors, low- to moderate-income families and those eligible for the EITC are welcome to the free tax service.
You may be eligible for an EITC if you earned less in 2006 than the amount listed:
Taxes are electronically filed and can be back in as little as two weeks. No appointments are necessary.
People requesting the tax service should be sure to bring a picture ID, W-2 forms and a Social Security card. More materials may be required depending on what credits are being applied for.
Library staff does not answer tax-related questions.
Volunteer tax preparers are certified by the Internal Revenue Service, said Ella Franklin, a volunteer through AmeriCorps Volunteers In Service To America from the Southwestern Michigan Community Action Agency.
"We went to the class, we went to training and we actually took the test and passed it," she said, referring to the same process the professional prepares go through. "And the difference with us is it's totally free … and we get all the credits for them."
A new tax credit available this year is the Telephone Tax Credit. To qualify, people must have paid for long distance telephone service from a landline phone or a cell phone with a contract. Pre-paid cell phones are not eligible.
The Tri-County EITC Coalition will be providing free tax service at the Niles District Library through April 11. The services are offered every other Saturday – Jan. 27, Feb. 10 and 24, March 10 and 24, and April 7 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – and every Wednesday starting Jan. 31, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.