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Church helps out at tax time
With the arrival of the new year comes a pressing, and sometimes expensive, responsibility - preparing and filing your taxes.
One Westside church has stepped up to help alleviate the costs associated with this process for the people who need it most.
Glenwood United Methodist Church, located at 2833 Valleyview Dr., has begun a Free Taxes Ministry, designed to help low- to middle-income families on the Westside prepare and electronically file their taxes.
John Beattie, coordinator for the program, has a history of work in the tax industry.
“I saw a lot of people paying a lot more than I thought they needed to for basic services,” said Beattie.
After he spoke with his wife, Rev. Sharon Beattie, they decided that the church should do something to help.
“She told me to do something about it,” he said.
Beattie spoke to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) about what kinds of programs they provide to help reduce the cost of filing. They pointed him in the direction of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.
Through VITA, the IRS promised to provide the church with software needed for tax preparation and filing, as well as to provide training to volunteers. First, however, the church needed to produce the volunteers, as well as the computers.
Three computers were purchased through donations from both individuals and organizations involved with the church.
Once training and IRS certification is complete, Beattie expects to have 12-15 volunteers.
Beattie stressed that all information will be secure.
“Our computers are password protected and encrypted,” he said.
The computers will be dedicated to the Free Tax Ministry program, and will be locked away at the end of the tax filing season until next January.
Also, those utilizing the program will take everything home with them - no paperwork will be left behind.
To qualify for the program, you must earn under $42,000.
By filing your taxes electronically, returns can be received in as little as one week.
Items you should bring include proof of identification; social security cards for yourself, your spouse and dependents; birthdates for yourself and family members; current year’s tax package; wage and earnings statements; interest and dividend statements from banks; a copy of last years tax returns if available; bank routing numbers and account numbers for direct deposit and total paid for day care, along with the day care provider’s tax identification number.
To file taxes electronically on a married filing joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.
The program will run Jan. 17 through April 13, on Saturdays and Mondays, from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Walk-ins will be accepted, although appointments are encouraged. Make an appointment by calling Glenwood United Methodist Church at 274-8469.
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