Make under $49k? Get your taxes prepared for free

By Patrice Clark – bio | email

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - If you need your income tax forms filed, but are strapped for cash, South Mississippi Tax Assistance volunteers can help.  The IRS-certified preparers are offering a free tax service in Moss Point.  An individual or family has to earn under $49,000 to qualify for the program.

Income tax season has rolled around again, and the Jackson County Civic Action office is buzzing with activity.  Bridgett Young is one of the many here hoping to get a big tax return.

"I am a college student and that extra money helps out," Young said.

Any extra cash will also help Beth Black.  She said her family lives on a fixed income and it's tough making ends meet in a bad economy.

"Right now, we are almost at the poverty level and we get food stamps," Black said.

Both women said they usually pay hundreds of dollars to a tax preparer for their returns.  This time they're taking advantage of free filing service in Moss Point.

"It is convenient and it really saves money," Young said.

Director Diann Payne agrees it's a huge saving for the community.

"It puts money back in the households of those that need it," Payne said about the free program.

The tax process is short and simple.  Payne said you walk in, a volunteer completes the return and then it's filed electronically. But you have to have the correct paperwork.

"They have to have their W2s for everybody in the household. We ask for a photo ID to ascertain if that this is taxpayer, and their social security card," Payne said.

Payne also points out that there are seven free sites on the coast.  Each volunteer assisting is a professional tax preparer.

"Sometimes they go to people that are not certified, so they don't get the refunds due them.  This is a way they can get their taxes done by people who are certified by the Internal Revenue Service, and the IRS is one of our main partners in this initiative."

Last year, Payne said volunteers completed more than 500 returns, which equaled about $3 million in refunds for community members. So far, more than 100 people have used the free service this year. Volunteers hope more residents do the same, so they don't end up paying out of pocket for filing too late.

If you want to know more about this free tax service call (228) 769-3292. 

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