Free tax preparation services VITA sites to open across SWLA

The following is a news release from the United Way of SWLA

Tax season is here and in Southwest Louisiana, an estimated $10 million of Federal Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) go unclaimed by local taxpayers.   However, not all eligible taxpayers may be aware or claim the credit. In addition, taxpayers who qualify for EITC also qualify for free tax preparation services through the use of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Programs (VITA) which use IRS certified community volunteers.   These volunteers can help qualifying taxpayers with special credits, such as Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly. The sites also offer free electronic filing (e-filing). Individuals taking advantage of the e-file program will receive their refund in ½ the time compared to returns filed on paper – even faster if refunds are deposited directly into the taxpayer's bank account.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program Qualifications

The VITA Program offers free tax help to families generally earning $49,000 and below.  
You may qualify for Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on your 2009 tax return if:

• You earned under $43,279 and have three or more qualifying children($48,279 if married filing jointly)
• You earned under $40,295 and have two qualifying children ($45,295 if married filing jointly)
• You earned under $35,463 and have one qualifying child ($40,463 if married filing jointly)
• You earned under #13,440 and have no qualifying child ($18,440 if married filing jointly)

"In 2006, 28,400 taxpayers in SWLA who filed returns qualified for this free service," says Gaye Courville, Director of Community Impact for the United Way of SWLA. "The VITA program benefits families in SWLA by giving them an opportunity to get their taxes done for free, and get the credits they deserve."  
Free filing will be available beginning January 15, 2010.  For more information call 2-1-1, or to arrange a tax preparation appointment call any of the sites below:

Calcasieu Parish:
MLK Community Center 337-491-1497
Foreman/Reynaud Community Center 337-436-2509
United Way Office 337-433-1088
McNeese 337-310-INFO
Care/Help of Sulphur 337-528-2273

Allen Parish:
Allen Council on Aging 318-335-3195
Beauregard Parish:
BeauCARE 337-462-2273

Cameron Parish:
Watch for upcoming "Tax-Day" event locations

Jeff Davis Parish:
Big Brothers/Big Sisters 337-824-4847

If you are interested in volunteering at a site, please call Gaye Courville at United Way of SWLA 337-433-1088.