Individuals and families who need help with income tax return preparation are invited to attend free Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program events starting Jan. 30, in Fresno, and Feb. 6, in Madera.
The Madera location is at 1225 Gill Ave., and tax assistance will be provided 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. every Saturday between Feb. 6 and April 16. Appointments are not required.
There are a number of locations and times in Fresno - for complete list go to www.boe.ca.gov/runner/vita/.
The VITA events are sponsored by the United Way Fresno and Madera Counties.
Free VITA events throughout California help qualified taxpayers receive information on federal and state tax credits. Eligible individuals may qualify for as much as $6,242 from the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit and $2,653 from the State Earned Income Tax Credit.
AARP tax assistance
Free income tax return preparation and electronic filing, for both state and federal returns, will be available again this year for Mountain Area residents, offered by the AARP Tax-Aide program.
Services are provided free of all costs and charges, to low and moderate income taxpayers, and the service is offered to persons of all ages.
“You don’t have to be a senior citizen, or a member of AARP,” said Brian Ross, client facilitator. “Last year, Tax-Aide prepared first tax returns for several 17 and 18 year-old students who had their first jobs.”
Tax returns are prepared by specially trained and certified volunteers. The returns are prepared on site, and electronically filed the same day.
Last year, Tax-Aide volunteers prepared and filed about 550 tax returns for Madera County residents.
Call for appointment
Services are offered at the Oakhurst Library’s Community Room, and are available Tuesdays between Feb. 2 and April 12. Two Saturdays are also available, Feb. 27 and March 26, to make the services more accessible for families and working adults.
Appointments are required and can be made by calling Brian Ross, (559) 285-1494.
Persons seeking appointments are urged to call early, as the total number of appointment slots has been reduced this year due to reductions in the number of volunteers.
Tax-Aide services are also offered on Fridays in the City of Madera, at the Annex to the First Southern Baptist Church, 711 Nebraska Avenue. There will be one day of services in Chowchilla as well. Appointments may be made for these sites by calling Sarah Titus, (559) 675-7039.
The Oakhurst program has been headed by Jerry Ephraim for 26 years. Ephraim is presently serving as regional coordinator for California Tax-Aide District 3, a large area which extends from Modesto in the north to Bakersfield in the south, and from San Jose and Monterey in the west to Sonora and Barstow in the east.
Although the day-to-day duties in Oakhurst and Madera are overseen by Darlene Kelly, Ephraim will still be present on most return preparation days in Oakhurst to lend a hand and to greet his longtime clients and friends.