Take Charge Thursday: Free tax preparation

Tax season is right around the corner. But, you may want to check with the United Way before you shell out the cash for someone to prepare your taxes for you.

The group is gearing up for its free tax preparation program and the only requirement is that your household have an annual income of $52,000 or less. Volunteers, certified by the IRS, will be at locations throughout Michiana ready to help with the process.

"We know that the average tax return with prep cost, and possibly a loan, cost about $331 in our community," said Dawn Chapla, director of labor and community services for the United Way of St. Joseph County. "That is a lot of money that could be working for them."

For those that do not make the income cut-off, there is the new option to e-file for free as well. The online program brings the income maximum up to $57,000 per year. Plus, using the e-file website through the United Way provides grant funds for the organization.

There will also be self-service kiosks at each United Way tax preparation site. Staff and volunteers will be on stand-by to help out if clients encounter any problems.

"We want everyone to get back the dollars they have coming to them then use them to make their families more financially stable," Chapla said.

For more information, visit http://www.uwsjc.org. This year, clients can book an appointment online. You can also call the United Way at 211.

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