Free tax preparation helps Pickens County residents maximize their tax credits, savings

EASLEY — Now that tax season is soon upon us, United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is gearing up for a busy season. VITA offers free income tax preparation to low- and moderate-income individuals and families in Pickens County, ensuring that residents receive all eligible tax credits and deductions.

“As President of United Way of Pickens County, I am thrilled to be offering our community free tax preparation services through the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program with the help of IRS-trained and certified volunteers,” local United Way president Julie Capaldi said. “VITA ensures that tax payers receive the maximum amount of eligible tax credits and deductions available to them, particularly the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Valuable tax credits like EITC can literally return thousands of dollars to the pockets of hard working people in Pickens County.

“Our area has not yet recovered from the economic downturn and families need to be able to keep as much of their earnings as possible. We want folks to pick up the phone and call 2-1-1 to book an appointment today that is convenient to their schedule and residence. Sites are located in all areas of the county and will open the last week of January 2014.

“Through our free tax preparation assistance program, we can save individuals the fee for filing a tax return that most for-profit preparers would charge. We would rather have our area families keep that filing fee that others charge, using it to make ends meet or save for the future.”

By providing free income tax assistance to working individuals and families, the VITA program plays a vital role in the United Way’s goal of making Pickens County more financially stable. VITA does this by helping individuals and families increase their income while serving as a natural vehicle for connecting residents to additional financial stability programs. Those that take advantage of United Way’s free tax preparation services will also learn about financial education classes and work support programs, two more financial independence initiatives that are available free of charge to Pickens County residents through the United Way and its partners.

VITA sites in Pickens County are as follows: The Dream Center of Pickens County, Hampton Memorial Library-Easley, Village Branch Library-Pickens, Central Clemson Regional Branch-Central, Sarlin Branch-Liberty.