Written by The Herald-News
Free help with tax preparation continues this year easing the minds of thousands of hard-working Montanans as tax season approaches.
A $76,800 grant recently awarded to the Montana VITA Partnership will allow the group to provide free tax services to Montanans of moderate means. The Internal Revenue Service grant helps support 62 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites across the state for the next two years, which includes Wolf Point.
“This means that moderate-to low-income Montanans will continue to have access to quality, free tax preparation with community-based organizations they trust,” said Carin McClain, VITA program manager with Montana Credit Unions for Community Development. “Millions of dollars will be returned to Montana taxpayers and, in turn, the Montana economy. We also hope that this continued funding will allow us to reach out to taxpayers who are not aware of the free tax preparation and asset building services in their community.”
This service saves hard-working Montanans money since the average taxpayer spends more than $220 to have their taxes prepared, according to the National Society of Accountants. Through this grant, IRS-certified volunteers offer free tax help to individuals and families who make $51,000 or less and have fairly straight-forward returns.
MCUCD leads the MVP, which is a statewide coalition that aims to share expertise and build capacity around free tax preparation and asset development.
“Being part of a coalition makes us better,” McClain said. “We are better able to serve taxpayers in our communities, advocate for our programs, and get the word out about important tax credits that benefit hard-working Montanans.”
Local volunteers are the backbone of all VITA sites, and last year, more than 152 volunteers prepared with 5,515 tax returns. No experience is necessary and volunteers receive free training and certification by the IRS to prepare taxes in the VITA program. For more information visit www.montanafreefile.org
Area communities hosting sites and currently recruiting volunteers: Circle, Fort Peck, Glasgow and Wolf Point.