Residents can once again get free tax assistance this year from volunteers at the Meriden and Wallingford public libraries and the Spanish Community of Wallingford.
Maria Campos Harlow, executive director of the United Way of Meriden and Wallingford, said the program has been growing steadily over the past few years and helped prepare 1,488 tax returns last year, yielding $1,844,907 in tax returns in Meriden and Wallingford alone. Over 20 volunteers from the local United Way are trained each year to prepare simple tax returns by the Human Resources Agency of New Britain, under the auspices of the federal Internal Revenue Service.
“We’re very happy to see how the program has been growing … and we’re looking forward to another successful tax season,” Harlow said.
Providing free tax assistance can save families hundreds of dollars over commercial preparation services and maximize tax returns for families that need them the most, Harlow said. The service is available for those with a household income of less than $56,000 last year.
“This can be daunting. Filing your return can be confusing. When you speak another language that can also be confusing,” she said.
Volunteers will be available at SCOW on Tuesdays between Jan. 28 and April 14 between 2 and 5 p.m, while the Wallingford Public Library will begin holding sessions on Feb. 1 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will continue every Saturday until April 11. Sessions typically take around a half hour.
Sessions will be held at the Meriden Public Library on Mondays and Wednesday between 5 and 8 p.m. or on Saturdays between 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Spanish-speaking volunteers will be present on Saturdays and by appointment.
Southington Community Services is also working with the New Britain HRA to host volunteers on Mondays between Jan. 27 and April. 13 from 9 a.m. until noon.
Those interested can sign up through the HRA at 860-356-2000 or online at www.hranbct.org. Those seeking to make an appointment at SCOW can also call there directly at 203-265-5866.
Those attending are advised to bring:
■Social Security cards or Individual Taxpayer ID numbers for all household members
■Records of all income, such as the usual W-2 or 1099 forms
■Last year’s tax return
■Education expenses, student loan information and records for deductions being sought
■Bank account information for direct deposit.
Jane Fisher, director of the Wallingford Public Library, said the library was added as a second location for people to meet with volunteers three years ago after the United Way saw how much of a need there is in town.
“It’s really heartwarming to see people here who are getting free tax prep that they might pay $100 to $200 if they were paying,” she said. “ … some people who we service don’t have an extra $100.”