TAX HELP: Free United Way Service

The IRS began accepting federal tax returns Wednesday. 

The process of filing can get complicated and costly but a program with the United Way of Central Iowa is eliminating some of the burdens.

For the 15th year, Randy Bergstrom is giving up a Saturday during tax season, “I, myself am a CPA and am an attorney.”

He’s one of 220 professionals, trained and certified by the IRS working with the United Way’s volunteers income tax assistance program, also known as VITA.

Each year he puts his expertise to use, checking for exemptions and tax credits. He hopes to help people like Judy Wilson receive the biggest tax return possible.

Money she plans to invest in her home.

“We usually have a project we’re working on like new fencing or something like that.”

Personal tax preparation can be expensive but on Saturday, more than 100 central Iowans  left the Polk County River Place with tax forms submitted without a dollar changing hands.

“We hope some people will get some financial assistance along the way too and take that refund and invest it or save it.”

The program aims to help those who may not be able to afford tax preparation services offered by for-profit businesses.

Most families making $50,000 or less are eligible.

“If they have a self-employed business, they can’t have many expenses. We don’t do depreciation. Then can’t have much investment income. Otherwise, we help almost anyone.”

Judy Wilson says the help is valuable  and she’ll return in 2014 just like she has the past four years.

“They’re knowledgeable and very friendly.”

Volunteers will help people file until the April 15th deadline at eight locations in central Iowa:

ANKENY
DMACC, Ankeny Campus
Neveln Center

DES MOINES
DMACC Urban Campus, Betts Bldg.
United Way of Central Iowa
Working Families

INDIANOLA
WeLift/Trinity United Presbyterian Church

DES MOINES SUPERSITE
Polk County River Place (former Target building)

PERRY
First Presbyterian Church

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