Free tax income assistance in Pike County

Published 11:00 pm Monday, January 28, 2013

The Pike County Extension Office will be the site for the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA), which offers free tax return preparation assistance and free electronic filing or e-filing.

Grant Lyons, Pike County extension coordinator, said to qualify for the VITA program, applicants generally have to make $50,000 or less a year.

“VITA is also available to provide assistance to those who cannot prepare their own taxes,” Lyons said. “Volunteers, who are IRS-certified and trained, Troy University students and those sponsored by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the Alabama Asset Coalition Board, will help prepare basic tax returns in Troy and the surrounding communities.

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“This is an excellent service that Extension provides to the public. I hope folks will take advantage of this opportunity,” Lyons said.

Beginning Feb. 4, the hours of operation at the Pike County Extension Office will be from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday and Friday by appointment. The number to call for an appointment is 334-566-0985

“VITA volunteers may help with credits such as Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled,” said Will Golden, regional extension agent and site coordinator.

In addition to being free, individuals taking advantage of the e-file program will receive their refunds in half the time compared to returns filed on paper and mailed and even faster when tax refunds are deposited directly into their bank account.

“W2 forms go out this month and we know a lot of hardworking local families are in a hurry to get their taxes done because they need the refund,” Golden said. “We are encouraging those who qualify to wait until the VITA sites open later this month so they can get their taxes done for free.”

In addition to free tax preparation services and electronic filing, the Pike County VIRA site will also offer assistance in referrals to financial education, training and programs.

“Our area has been hit hard by the economy and families need to be able to keep as much of their earning as possible,” Golden said. “We want folks to pick up the phone and call, 334-566-0985 to book an appointment today.”

The Pike County Extension Office is located at 306 South Three Notch Street in Troy.