Chris Cooper Managing Editor
January 20, 2014
Logan County Good Samaritan is proud to offer the VITA Tax Program for its sixth straight year. Through the Barren River Asset Building Coalition, Good Samaritan offers free tax preparation for those who need or desire a little helping hand. Good Samaritan also offers free assisted self-filing at its site.”
“We are certified by the IRS to prepare returns and can do most forms,” said Denise McDonald, Executive Director for the Logan County Good Samaritan, Inc. “There are some circumstances in which we must refer the taxpayer to a paid preparer, such as those with farm or rental income. We are trained to find every deduction the taxpayer is allowed.”
In past years, Good Samaritan offered free e-file of both federal and state tax forms for those making under $52,000 a year. The non-profit provides direct deposit and can split refunds between multiple accounts or help to purchase savings bonds.
Th service is by appointment only on Fridays and Saturdays between Jan. 24 and April 12. Please call 725-9002 for an appointment. Although Good Samaritan is open for appointments, no forms will actually be filed until the IRS begins accepting them. As of now, that date is Jan. 31.
“The free self-file site is for taxpayers who are interested in preparing their own returns online, but who are concerned they may need a little help. It offers the taxpayer the ability to file both federal and state returns for free through a link we have on our computers,” said McDonald. “It asks a series of questions in order to prepare the tax forms. There is someone at the site available to help should the taxpayer have questions or need help. Most online free tax sites offer free federal returns, but then charge for the state return. The income limit for this service is a little higher at $58,000. This will be by appointment only based on the needs of the client. This service will begin on Jan. 27 and continue through April 15.”
McDonald says part of Good Samaritan’s goal with this program is to encourage taxpayers to set up an emergency fund for their family. What better time for them to set aside some money for “a rainy day” then when they are receiving such a large amount at once?
“Last year, we were able to file taxes for 209 families and assisted 24 self filers. Using a very modest estimate of saving each client $150, we were able to save them at least $31,350 just in filing fees,” McDonald said. “Our goal this year is to assist at least 250 taxpayers.”
Many of these families, said McDonald, report paying between $150 and $500 to get their taxes prepared the prior year. Most tax professionals charge per form so for families with multiple forms, the costs can quickly add up.
“The taxpayers we actually filed received refunds totaling almost $319,000. The Earned Income Credit accounted for over $117,500 of those refunds,” said McDonald.