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Resource Roundup: Taxes is for Lovers Edition

by Kate Enos

This Valentine's Day, volunteers across Montana are showing love for our veterans, mobilizing in an effort to help America's heroes prepare tax returns at several Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites around the state including Billings, Bozeman, and Helena.

As a way to show appreciation for those who served overseas, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps are teaming up to make this effort possible, connecting veterans with IRS-certified volunteers who can ease the burden of tax preparation and filing.

“Doing your taxes can be a challenging experience,” said Dan O'Brien, AmeriCorps VISTA member with the Montana Credit Unions for Community Development. “Too often those who can least afford it pay for someone to prepare their taxes. VITA volunteers help hard-working taxpayers prepare their taxes for free, which saves them money and gives them peace of mind.”

The volunteers provide vital support to individuals who qualify for the VITA Program, assisting individuals who make under $50,000 in preparing and filing their tax returns. The program educates individuals on potential tax credits they may qualify for and work through the complex process of filing taxes.

But this program is not just for Montanans. O'Brien offered some helpful tips for taxpayers nationwide leading up to April 15:

  • One of the biggest things VITA helps with is ensuring individuals know about the credits they qualify for. Many miss out on higher refunds when they are doing their own taxes and don't apply for the credits.
  • Keep track of your documents – you need to have your documents in order to have proof you qualify for income tax credits.
  • Use direct deposit to receive your deposit, making your refund get in your hands in a safer, faster manner.
  • E-filing streamlines the process and saves paper.

Across the country, service organizations are providing similar services. Get involved by becoming a tax preparation volunteer. Find an opportunity on serve.gov or with the nearest VITA program.

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