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United Way offers free tax-filing help

Community members have been coming in droves to the Rappahannock United Way, packing the community room on Wednesdays and Saturdays, when IRS-certified volunteers are available to help people prepare their taxes.

Many area residents are taking advantage of the Free Tax Service Program provided by RUW – a program that provides three free options for filing  taxes for households that earned less than $58,000 in 2013.

The first option provided to tax payers is the full-service tax preparation. Individuals meet one-on-one with an IRS certified volunteer who helps them go through each line of their return. Volunteers help tax payers review their documents (such as W-2s), identify deductions, and determine whether or not they may qualify for tax credits. When completed, volunteers also help tax payers receive their e-filing PIN from the IRS website and file their taxes electronically.

The second option gives tax payers the opportunity to file their taxes themselves on computers provided at a Free Tax Site and if needed receive guidance and oversight from a certified, volunteer tax preparer. This option is ideal for individuals who are familiar with computers and don’t have incredibly complicated returns.

“Honestly I’m glad that I tried filing my taxes by myself,” says Jessica, a 28-year-old mother from Fredericksburg. Jessica decided to try to file her taxes on her own with assistance so she didn’t have to wait for an available Tax Preparer Volunteer. “I was scared at first, just because I’m really bad with numbers, but I was surprised how easy it was and whenever I had a question there was someone right there to help.”

The third option provided by the program allows tax payers to file their taxes from the comfort of their own home for free.

This option is  for people who are comfortable using a computer and are used to TurboTax or other similar online filing programs.

Two weeks into the program, RUW has seen:

 $637,207 in tax refunds and credits

 309 tax returns filed

 136 individuals EITC eligible – $368,761 in EITC credits

 22 tax sites and events have been active to date

 55 individuals coached to complete their own tax returns on


“Individuals are receiving significant tax refunds and savings through this program,” says Janel S. Donohue, President of Rappahannock United Way. “The participants are telling us that the tax refunds are allowing them the opportunity to catch up on bills, build a savings account or even invest in their education. All of these opportunities will ultimately help them be more financially stable. To help them in their effort to be more financially stable we are offering clients the opportunity to talk one on one with a professional who can help them access the information or resources they need.”

Click here to see upcoming tax assistance events. –