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The Voice of the Black Community

Local & State

Goodwill Industries, IRS sponsor free tax preparation initiative
Annual program continues through April 12
Published Thursday, February 1, 2018 12:44 pm
by Herbert L. White

Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont is preparing taxes for free the ninth straight year.

The nonprofit will extend tax preparation services to qualified people through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. The program, which is offered via partnership with Community Link and the Internal Revenue Service, includes certified preparers who'll help individuals or families with an adjusted 2017 gross income of $54,000 or less.

Goodwill's VITA site is the Leon Levine Opportunity Center at 5301 Wilkinson Blvd. through April 12. The site will be open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 6-9 p.m. by appointment only and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. for walk-ins. The service will be closed on March 3 and March 31.

“Last year, we completed 469 tax returns at the Goodwill Opportunity Campus location though our partnership with the VITA program, resulting in $654,313 in refunds being returned to local residents,” said Petreana Anderson, manager of Centralized Intake, Basic Needs Fulfillment & Partner Relations at Goodwill. “The average tax return preparation can cost upwards of $200 – money that can be used instead to cover the cost of living such as food, rent, bills and transportation.”

Goodwill is encouraging taxpayers to ask about the Earned Income Tax Credit, which provides tax breaks for some working families who earn up to $53,930 and can provide refunds of up to $6,318. The IRS estimates that 20 percent of eligible workers don't claim the EITC because they don't know about it, cannot afford costly tax preparation fees or fear losing public benefits by filing. Ultimately, that money goes unclaimed. Families with a child in college can also earn up to $2,500 by taking advantage of the education tax credit. Last year, $17,350 was returned to 25 local VITA filers who were eligible for the education tax credit.

Goodwill will host a free Tax Awareness Day February 3 from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. at the Goodwill Opportunity Campus. Pre-registration is not required for the showcase, which will offer one-on-one financial and credit counseling as well as educational tools from community partners.

To schedule an appointment, or to inquire about free tax preparation, call (704) 761-VITA (8482) weekdays from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. or visit www.goodwillsp.org, which includes a list of the necessary documentation to bring.

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