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Two groups are opening shop in the county to assist low- and middle-income people get their tax returns shipshape.
By Chandra Broadwater, Times Staff Writer
Published February 26, 2008
[Maurice Rivenbark | Times]
SPRING HILL - As of Monday, there were 51 days left until April 15.
And unlike the droves of procrastinators who wait until the last minute, Joseph and Ruth Adamski gathered their important papers and headed to the Spring Hill Library.
There, they were first in line to have their taxes done - for free.
"It's very helpful, to have people donate their time and know-how," 80-year-old Ruth Adamski said. "We came here with a few questions about which form to use, and wondered how much we would get back through the tax rebate."
This year in Hernando, there are three more places low- and middle-income residents can go for help with filing their federal income taxes.
Volunteers working through United Way Hernando and the IRS' Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, called VITA, will be available at various times and locations through the infamous April deadline.
People with a total income under $50,000 are eligible for the free service.
This season, the organization expects to file about 450 returns for county residents, with an estimated $612,000 in total refunds.
Many of those who have already taken advantage of the help didn't realize they were eligible for credits that saved them lots of money, said volunteer Susan Harman. Assigned to the Spring Hill Library site, she added that the savings go to people in a range of age groups and income brackets.
On Monday morning, she sat behind a laptop at a table with the Adamskis, double-checking all the information she had just entered.
"A lot of people, especially grandparents who are taking care of grandchildren, didn't know they could take the child tax care credit," Harman said. "Other folks are missing out on credits for health savings accounts, retirement plans, that kind of stuff."
Many people, like the Adamskis, are also coming in with questions about the stimulus rebate, she said. Some seniors who haven't filed taxes in years now have to do so in order to get a rebate.
What's more, people should know that they don't have to pay to have their taxes done when they're already having a hard time getting by, Harman said. VITA volunteers can also help residents get their returns faster and safer with electronic filing.
Next year, the hope is that more people can be helped with more volunteers on board, said Cheryl Denny, a senior tax consultant through the IRS-Stakeholder, Partnership, Education and Communication program.
"We know that we need to do more free tax preparation days and hours," Denny said. "But that means we're going to need more volunteers to help."
Chandra Broadwater can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 352 848-1432.
Where to go for tax filing assistance:
Do you qualify fortax filing assistance?
Low and middle-income Hernando County residents can have their federal income tax preparations done free through two organizations trained in cooperation with the IRS at various sites throughout the county. The VITA program provides free federal tax preparation assistance at three locations in the county. The service is available to anyone with a total income of less than $50,000.
Those attending need to bring: Social Security card for everyone claimed on the return and a photo ID for taxpayers, all income documents (W-2s and 1099s), receipts for qualifying expenses, copy of prior year's tax return, and, if this is a joint return, both taxpayers must be present.
Mid Florida Community Services
820 Kennedy Blvd., Brooksville
Mondays and Thursdays,9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Career Central Spring Hill
7361 Forest Oaks Blvd., Spring Hill
Tuesdays and Wednesdays,9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Spring Hill Library
9220 Spring Hill Drive, Spring Hill
Mondays and Fridays,11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
AARP Tax-Aide volunteers, trained in cooperation with the IRS, will offer free tax preparation assistance to low- and middle-income taxpayers at various locations throughout the county. Special attention will be given to those 60 and older. AARP membership is not required to use this service. Free electronic filing (e-file) will be available at all sites.
Those wishing to have their tax forms prepared must bring photo ID and Social Security cards (including Social Security cards for all dependents), a copy of last year's tax return, all applicable tax records for 2007 showing income, deductions and credits, and a canceled check with bank routing and account numbers for direct deposit of any refund.
The free service will be offered from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday through April 15 at the following locations. For information, call Barbara Perry at 688-3303.
- Mondays: Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 6193 Spring Hill Drive, Spring Hill; Grace World Outreach Church, 20366 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville.
- Tuesdays: First United Methodist Church, 9344 Spring Hill Drive, Spring Hill; Brooksville Enrichment Center, 670 S Broad St., Brooksville.
- Wednesdays: High Point Community Clubhouse, 12249 Clubhouse Road, High Point.
- Thursdays: First United Methodist Church, 9344 Spring Hill Drive, Spring Hill; Forest Oaks Villas Clubhouse, 8125 Forest Villa Circle, Spring Hill; Spring Hill Enrichment Center (behind Oak Hill Hospital), 11375 Cortez Blvd., Spring Hill.
- Fridays: Loyal Order of the Moose Lodge 521, 5214 Mariner Blvd., Spring Hill; Brookridge Clubhouse, 8150 Hampton St., Brookridge; and the Heather Clubhouse, 9100 Nakoma Way, Weeki Wachee.
For information on becoming part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, call United Way Hernando at 688-2026, or contact Cheryl Denny at email@example.com or (813) 315-2380.
[Last modified February 25, 2008, 20:30:03]