Free tax preparation in Johnson County - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Free tax preparation in Johnson County

JOHNSON COUNTY (KWWL) - The "You Earned It. Now Claim It!" campaign will launch on January 31, and is in its fourth year of operation. This effort supports the financial security of working families by offering FREE tax preparation service beginning January 31 and running through April 14.

"We experienced great success in our efforts last year, providing tax preparation to over 950 households, and securing total refunds for tax filers upwards of $1 million," said Amy Correia, Johnson County Social Services Coordinator. Dr. Joyce Berg, Professor of Accounting at UI Tippie College of Business said, "The "You Earned It. Now Claim It!" initiative is an opportunity for the University of Iowa and the greater Johnson County community to work together to provide an excellent service that provides a benefit to an individual's financial health as well as providing a benefit to the economic health of the entire economy."

The campaign provides tax preparation services through the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA). This service is available for free to people who earned less than $49,000 in 2009. Locally, the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program trains University of Iowa Tippie College of Business students and AARP volunteers to work with tax filers to electronically file their taxes. Volunteers are trained to assist working families to get money back through the Earned Income Credit (EIC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and, at the same time, give a boost to the local economy.

The Earned Income Credit (EIC) is a special tax benefit for working people who earn low or moderate incomes. It has several important purposes, including reducing tax burden and supplementing wages.

Workers who qualify for the EIC and file a federal tax return can get back some or all of the federal income tax that was taken out of their pay during the year. They may also get extra cash back from the IRS. Even workers whose earnings are too small to owe income tax can get the EIC. Households earning less than $45,295 with two or more qualifying children in the home could get up to $5,028 returned. Households earning less than $40,463 with one qualifying child in the home could get up to $3,043 returned. Households with no children in the home earning less than $13,440 could get up to $457 returned.

The University of Iowa volunteers from the Tippie College of Business will provide tax preparation services at the Iowa City Public Library on Wednesday evenings (5:45pm to 8:45 pm) and Sunday afternoons (1 pm to 4pm) from January 31 through April 13, and including two Monday evenings (April 5 & 12) and one Tuesday evening (April 13) from 5:45 to 8:45pm. Tax Preparation sites will be closed from March 14 through March 21 and on April 4. No appointment is necessary. Spanish translators are available at these sites.

Expanded Tax Preparation Services will be provided by the Tippie College of Business at three additional sites throughout Johnson County:

1) Lucas Elementary, in Iowa City, 830 Southlawn Drive, will host a site on Sunday afternoons (1 pm to 4 pm), February 14 through March 7. Spanish translators will be available. No appointment is necessary.

2) Northwest Junior High, in Coralville, 1507 8th Street, will host a site on Monday evenings (6:00pm to 9:00pm), February 15 through March 8th. Spanish translators will be available. No appointment is necessary.

3) Penn Elementary, in North Liberty, 230 N. Dubuque Street, will host a site on two Mondays (6:00pm to 9:00 pm) on March 22 & 29. Spanish translators will be available. No appointment is necessary.

Persons needing assistance with translation for a language other than Spanish (and including sign language) should contact Amy Correia at 356-6090 to make this arrangement.

The Johnson County AARP VITA program will provide tax preparation services at the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center, 28 S. Linn in downtown Iowa City. This site will operate on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30am to 4:00pm beginning February 1 and ending on April 13. Call 356-5220 to make an appointment.

For more information on these FREE Tax Preparation sites, call the United Way toll-free at 2-1-1 or 1-866-469-221 or visit the Johnson County web-site at www.johnson-county.com/taxhelp.html.

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