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Friday, February 1, 2008

Free tax help offered at Fresh Start Center

All tax help volunteers have been trained and have passed exams by the Internal Revenue Service.

Louetta Hall is one of the Fresh Start Center’s tax help volunteers.



KINGSPORT — Free tax preparation will be available beginning next week through the Weed & Seed program in South Central Kingsport.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program through Weed & Seed will begin offering free tax preparation Tuesday at the Fresh Start Center, 1140 Lincoln St.
The Rev. Kenneth Calvert, chairman of the board of South Central Kingsport Community Development, announced this year’s program at a news conference T h u r s d a y.
“It will allow citizens to come in and have their taxes prepared free,” Calvert said.
He said people have paid $50 up to $700 for help in preparing tax forms.
“This allows them to keep their money in the bank,” he said. “This process not only benefits South Central but all of Kingsport.”
Mary Alexander, director of the Weed & Seed program, said all tax help volunteers have been trained and have passed exams by the Internal Revenue Service.
“There is no point in you paying someone to do your taxes. It’s just that simple,” Alexander said.
Louetta Hall is one of the center’s tax help volunteers. She said she donates her time to help others.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing that we can help people who actually need all of their money, especially families with children,” Hall said.
The center is equipped with computers to help folks file electronic tax returns. Calvert said returns are processed quickly — and some refunds are received in 24 to 48 hours.
Joseph Durant, coordinator of the program, said tax preparation is available not only for South Central Kingsport residents, but for just about all taxpayers in the area. He said he’s already received calls about the program from folks in Bristol and Rogersville.
Taxpayers planning to use the service should bring with them a picture identification, voided check, all W-2 forms and other income documents, Social Security cards for themselves and their children, and day-care identification numbers and addresses. And if married filing jointly, both spouses must be present to sign the return.
The tax preparation service will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays and from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays.
This is the third year that Weed & Seed has offered the free tax help in Kingsport. Nearly 90 people took advantage of the service in the first year, while 34 people received help last year.
Calvert said he hopes to increase participation to more than 100 people this year.
“The important thing is to let people know we are here,” Calvert said.
Durant said taxpayers should call 384-6308 to find out if the program can help them. Those interested can also call 246-6809.