United Way: A free tax assistance program

This message comes via SCOPE:

Take the money - you've earned it!
United Way wants you to know about its VITA Free Tax Assistance program, which is designed to increase the number of income-qualified people who apply for Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) and Child Tax Credits (CTC).

The IRS estimates that more than 20 percent of eligible workers in Sarasota County do not apply for this public benefit, which could bring as much as $20 million a year into the community if everyone who was eligible applied. Although the average EITC return is $1,800, you may be eligible for a tax credit up to $5,567 in EITC or CTC.

Last year, United Way brought back nearly $600,000 into our community and directly into the pockets of local families who need it most. On Jan. 15, United Way will launch Phase II of this initiative, with free tax assistance sites throughout Sarasota, Venice, Laurel, North Port and Englewood, as well as DeSoto County.

If your family income was $49,000 or less in 2009 (with three or more dependents), visit www.uwsrq.com for times and locations of the tax assistance sessions, or call 2-1-1 or 941-308-4357.Qualifications differ for those with few dependents and marital status.

You can begin scheduling an appointment now, or visit one of several walk-in sites that will be available through the second week of April. Here's what you'll need to bring when you go:

 - Proof of identification, social security cards and birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents

 - Wage and earning statements for all employers (W-2, W-2G, 1099-R)
 - Interest and dividend statements from banks
 - A copy of last year's federal and state tax returns (if available)
 - Bank routing and account numbers for direct deposit
 - Total paid-for day care provider and day care provider taxpayer ID
To learn more, visit www.uwsrq.com


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