(NEWS CENTER) -- The Internal Revenue Service and AARP are looking for volunteers to help Mainers file their tax returns.
The VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) and AARP Tax Aide programs provide free tax return preparation help to seniors, people with disabilities, low-to-moderate income individuals and families, and people with limited English proficiency. Volunteers educate taxpayers about credits and deductions that may help increase their refunds, especially the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
EITC is the federal government's largest anti-poverty program. It is a refundable credit for low-income working individuals and families. The IRS estimates that each year 20%-25% of taxpayers who qualify for the credit, fail to claim it either because they don't know about it or don't think that they will qualify.
In 2010, the CA$H Maine Coalition, local groups consisting of non-profits and local businesses that join forces to staff volunteer income tax assistance sites, and the AARP Tax-Aide volunteer sites electronically filed over 14,700 individual federal income tax returns claiming $17.2 million in tax refunds. Over 3,700 of those returns included the EITC, Earned Income Tax Credit, resulting in $4.6 million in EITC credits. The volunteers also helped Maine taxpayers save over a million dollars in tax preparation charges.
The CA$H Maine Coalition and AARP Tax-Aide sites are beginning to prepare for the upcoming tax filing season and they are always looking for volunteers to help them at the tax assistance sites. No previous experience is required, but training has already begun so you need to act fast. The IRS provides free tax law training, electronic filing software training and all the materials needed to prepare basic individual income tax returns. Volunteers are asked to volunteer for a minimum of 5 shifts (four hours per shift) from mid-January through April 15th.
For more information about volunteer opportunities call Joan Jagolinzer at (207) 883-8415.