By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- It's that time of year some of us love, and some of us hate. It all depends on whether you're getting money back or you owe money to the Internal Revenue Service. That's right, it's tax time. The last of W-2 forms are in the mail, so you can start tackling your returns soon. But as 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan tells us, free help for some is already available.
In the past Sandi Tuazama has paid around $300 each year to prepare his tax return. this year he's getting it done for free. He says, "At first I was shocked because I asked like it's like F-R-E-E, like in free? And they said yes."
The tax help is offered by the Campaign for Working Families. 20 sites are currently up and running in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties. 10 more locations will open next week in South Jersey in partnership with the United Way.
The tax returns are being prepared free of charge by I.R.S. certified volunteers who will be sure that the Earned Income Tax Credit will be applied. Intended to help low to moderate income working individuals and couples-particularly those with children, the tax credit is available to single individuals making less than $14,590 or families who earned less than $52,427 (married w/3+ children).
The maximum credit available is $6,143. But large numbers of people don't apply for it. According to Mary Arthur with the Campaign for Working Families, "Close to 40,000 people in the City of Philadelphia are eligible and a minimum of 20 percent are leaving money on the table."
The free tax preparation services aren't available to everyone. Like the Earned Income Tax Credit, the service is income based. Families making less than $53,000 are eligible, as are singles with incomes under $20,000.
To find a location where there the Campaign for Working Families is providing free tax preparation visit: http://www.cwfphilly.org/
To learn more about the Earned Income Tax Credit visit: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/EITC,-Earned-Income-Tax-Credit,-Questions-and-Answers
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