United Way offers free tax help

Jackson County United Way plans to continue assisting eligible residents with filing their basic federal and state tax returns for free through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

In collaboration with the Jackson County Public Library and United Way 2-1-1, the program will begin filing 2016 tax returns Feb. 6.

IRS-certified volunteers help eligible taxpayers with household earnings of $54,000 or less per year prepare their returns.

Twenty volunteers will provide these tax preparation services to eligible clients by appointment. Walk-ins are welcome; however, priority is given to those with appointments and availability of a preparer and/or a computer.

“Each of our volunteers has taken the IRS-approved training and are IRS certified to volunteer with the VITA program,” program manager Bonita Dobbs said in a news release.

Returns will be prepared from Feb. 6 through April 12, but Dobbs said the schedule fills up quickly as people begin to receive their W-2s.

Jackson County United Way is celebrating its 55th year with Reach 55, said Sean Hildreth, the organization’s resource development director.

“Our goal is to prepare at least 55 new returns,” he said. “In honor of this milestone anniversary, we would like you to get involved with VITA.”

The United Way’s VITA program has helped more than 1,600 Jackson County residents claim $1.6 million in federal returns over the years.

For an appointment, call 2-1-1 or 812-376-6666 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.