United Way & VITA volunteers get ready for 2015 tax time, several Free Tax Prep sites open Jan. 16

vita1Some people may choose to pay a business for the services of tax preparation and filing this tax season. While many of these organizations are professional and operate quality operations, some groups are not honest in their dealings, luring people with promises of using “tax tricks” to fool the IRS to produce larger and quicker refunds.

These schemes rarely fool the professionals working at the IRS. Making matters worse, if a person has false paperwork filed by an illegitimate preparer, the IRS will correct the problem – normally with the tax payer, not the tax preparer. Ultimately, individuals filing taxes are responsible for all the information (or in this case, misinformation) on their returns, even if it was placed there by another person.

The danger of falling prey to one of these “larger refunds, quicker returns” tax schemes is just another reason to connect with the trustworthy no scam zones at United Way and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Free Tax Prep sites. Trained volunteers who understand the IRS rules assist taxpayers directly, getting filers every penny back that they rightly deserve. And best of all, the service is free! There are no hidden fees, filing charges, preparation dues or any other costs.

On Jan. 16, three VITA “super sites” will be open to help people prepare and file their taxes without cost. Super sites are located at the Hickory Ridge Mall, Raleigh Springs Mall and Southland Mall.

vita2The Hickory Ridge Mall site (6075 Winchester Road), has VITA volunteers filing taxes from 10:00 a.m. until noon on Jan. 16. The Raleigh Springs Mall site (3386 Austin Peay) has VITA volunteers filing taxes from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. the same day; and the Southland Mall site (1215 Southland Mall) will have volunteers helping tax filers from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The “official” kickoff of the Free Tax Prep program takes place on National EITC Awareness Day, January 30th at the Raleigh Springs Mall beginning at 1:00 p.m.

Free Tax Prep sites will be available across the Mid-South, including Shelby and Fayette counties in Tennessee, Crittenden County in Arkansas, and DeSoto and Tunica counties in Mississippi. These sites open after the official kickoff on January 30.

So don’t fall for the tricks of those unscrupulous groups attempting to take your hard-earned tax refunds. There’s a clear choice for all low-to-moderate income tax filers – the United Way and VITA Free Tax Prep sites.

To learn what documents you need to bring and to find the Free Tax Prep and VITA location nearest you, just call the 2-1-1 information line (or 901.415.2790) during normal business hours, Monday through Friday. An operator can give you information about the closest site in your area.

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