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Free tax preparation available

January 11, 2009

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. - Free tax return preparation is available to qualifying families and individuals meeting the guidelines in the table below. This service is being provided by members of the Shippensburg University Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

VITA is a national program set up by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and sponsored by the Community Action Commission "Money in Your Pocket" Campaign. It provides free assistance to low- to moderate-income individuals and families. Upper-level accounting and business students in the John L. Grove College of Business at Shippensburg University have taken training classes and been certified by the IRS to provide high-quality tax preparation service, including e-filing of federal and state returns for fast refunds. Local returns also are prepared.

Deborah Hocking, CPA, is the VITA site director.

VITA sites throughout the United States provide confidential and quality tax consultation free of charge to those who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Eligible individuals include those (generally ages 25 to 64) without investment income (for example, interest, dividends, pensions, Social Security or unemployment) exceeding $2,950 and having earned an income that was equal to or less than the incomes below:

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Single taxpayer Married (filing jointly) Children

$12,880 $15,880 No children (and ages 25 to 64)

$33,995 $36,995 1 child

$38,646 $41,646 2 or more children

The maximum EITC refund is $438 for workers with no children and with approximate earnings of $6,000 to $7,000; $2,917 for workers with one child and earnings of approximately $9,000 to $19,000; and $4,824 for workers with two or more children and earnings of approximately $12,000 to $19,000.

To get the best service, it's important to bring the following: Social Security card or Tax Identification Number (TIN) for you, your spouse and any others shown on your tax return; copies of all forms W2, 1098 and 1099, and the amount of any other income; prior year's federal/state returns; information with the account and routing transit number of a financial institution in which to deposit your refund directly, if you wish to; Form 8332 or a copy of a divorce decree if you are a noncustodial parent claiming a child; if expecting to claim a credit for child or dependent care, bring child-care provider's address and TIN. Spouses who file together must bring the above information for both.

Free tax preparation assistance is available from Jan. 21 through April 15 from 3:30 to 8 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at the Shippensburg Area Chamber of Commerce, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays at the Shippensburg Area Chamber of Commerce and Coyle Free Library in Chambersburg, Pa. Walk-ins are welcome.

For more information, go to http://webspace.ship.edu/vita or contact the program director, Deborah Hocking, at 717-860-3164.

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