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Volunteers needed for free tax preparation sites

West Central MN Communities Action, Inc. is looking for volunteers for the upcoming tax season at sites in Elbow Lake, Morris, Glenwood, Wheaton and Alexandria. Free tax preparation services assist low- to moderate-income families in accessing tax credits and put 100 percent of refunds in taxpayers' pockets.

Missy Becker-Cook, WCMCA's CEO, stated, "The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is the largest and most underutilized anti-poverty effort in the country. We have the potential to put significant funds into the hard-working wage-earner's family budget."

Several volunteer roles are needed at the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites. Volunteers will be trained for each role.

Greeters and screeners create a pleasant atmosphere for everyone visiting the sites and confirm they have the necessary documents to complete their tax returns. Tax law certification is not required for this role.

Financial services coaches meet with taxpayers and provide resources that may assist with current needs and/or future savings. Tax law certification is not required for this role, either.

Tax preparers and quality reviewers complete and review returns and ensure that every taxpayer receives top quality service and that the tax returns are error-free. Training is provided in tax law and the use of electronic filing software.

Tax coaches will also be trained in tax law and assist and guide taxpayers on laptop kiosks that will be available at the sites. Training is provided in tax law and an overview of the software that taxpayers will use to do their own filing.

To discuss volunteer opportunities, contact Patti, special projects advocate, at (320) 815-2692 or pattio@wcmca.org. No experience is required. In January, all volunteers will receive training and certification materials necessary to prepare basic and advanced tax returns. Tax sites will be open from Jan. 30 to April 13. Sites are open one to two days per week.

WCMCA's VITA tax sites operate with funding from the Otto Bremer Foundation, Internal Revenue Service-VITA, Minnesota Department of Revenue and West Central Initiative. In-kind support is provided by Calvary Lutheran Church in Alexandria, Faith Lutheran Church in Morris, Hope Community Church in Glenwood and Traverse County Social Services in Wheaton.

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