“Super Saturday” event kicks off free tax preparation services

Free tax preparation services for low- to moderate-income families will be available at a special “Super Saturday” event on Saturday, February 1, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Goodwill Industries Workforce Office at 950 West Norton, Muskegon. No appointments are required for the event.

Tax returns will be processed by IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers on a first-come, first-served basis. To qualify for the service, clients must have household income below $55,000 if they are married or have children; and below $22,000 if they are single and have no children.

Anyone with computer skills may also file their own returns using Workforce Office computers and free online tax filing software during the Super Saturday event. Volunteers will be on hand to assist and answer questions for anyone interested in trying the free online platform.

To utilize the self-assisted or IRS-certified preparer services, clients must also bring with them all documents and information necessary to complete a return, which include:

  • Social Security cards for self, spouse, and dependents
  • Photo IDs for self and spouse
  • All income forms: W2, 1099, 1098, SSI, etc.
  • Copy of last year’s return
  • Bank routing and account numbers
  • All documents and information required for deductions or credits

The Super Saturday event is a kick-off to the 2014 tax season of free tax preparation services offered by Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) for West Michigan, a coalition of 15 area nonprofit organizations.

Free tax preparation services by appointment are offered at 11 locations in four counties beginning February 3 through April 15. Dates and times vary by location and are offered weekday mornings through evenings, and several Saturdays.

Site with regular appointment schedules beginning Monday, February 3, are:

  • Baker College, 1903 Marquette Avenue, Muskegon
  • Community enCompass / Sacred Suds, 289 East Larch, Muskegon
  • Goodwill Industries of West Michigan Headquarters, 271 East Apple Avenue, Muskegon
  • Goodwill Industries Workforce Office, 950 West Norton, Muskegon
  • Love INC – Newaygo, 11 West 96th Street, Grant
  • TrueNorth Community Services, 6308 South Warner, Fremont

Additional sites with limited dates of service are:

  • Family Health Care, 1615 Michigan Avenue, Baldwin
  • Family Health Care, 1035 East Wilcox, White Cloud
  • Hart Area Public Library, 415 South State Street, Hart
  • Hesperia Community Library, 80 South Division, Hesperia
  • Holton Branch – Muskegon Area District Library, 8776 Holton Duck Lake Road, Holton

Appointments for tax preparer-assisted services are required at all locations.  Appointments are scheduled by CALL 2-1-1 – dial 211, or 1-877-211-5253. Call specialists at 2-1-1 will also provide information and assistance in determining if individuals are eligible for the free services, which tax credits if any they may qualify for, and what documents and information they will need to bring with them to an appointment.

Walk-in, volunteer-assisted services are also available at the two Goodwill locations. Taxpayer documents will be scanned and reviewed with a qualified tax preparer. The returns will then be processed and quality reviewed and available for pick up within three business days.

Self-filing services with volunteer assistance will be available at Baker College and both Goodwill locations. Free self-filing is available to households with incomes up to $58,000, and can be accessed at www.myfreetaxes.com/goodwillwm.

VITA Services for West Michigan was organized as a partnership with the Internal Revenue Services to ensure eligible taxpayers claim and keep all of the tax credits they are eligible for. More information about the coalition and the free tax preparation services offered, and site locations and schedules, can be found at www.vitawestmichigan.org.

 It is estimated that at least 20 percent of eligible individuals do not claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC.) The maximum EITC refund for workers with earned income up to $51,567 ranges from $487 to $6,044. The amount of the credit varies by income and number of qualifying children in the household. Parents or guardians with earned income and qualifying children may also be eligible for a Child Tax Credit of up to $1,000 per child.

Over 50 people volunteered to help with the program this year.  The volunteer tax preparers in the program complete at least 20 hours of training in tax law and electronic filing of tax returns, and must pass IRS-certification tests.

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