Tax news

The United Way is offering free tax preparation in Corry and Union City for tax filers.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program is limited to those with an income of $54,000 or less, and appointments must be made in advance.

Appointments will be held at Corry Area School District Administration Building, 540 East Pleasant St., Corry, on Thursdays and Fridays from 4 to 8 p.m.

The Union City location is scheduling appointments in the Union City Elementary School's computer lab located at 91 Miles St., Union City.

The hours for the Union City location are Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 4 to 8 p.m.

Those interested in the tax preparation program can call 888-829-5680 to set up an appointment.

"The sites are staffed by IRS-trained and certified volunteer tax preparers," said Cheryl Bates, program director of United Way Erie Free Taxes.

People are reminded to bring the following items with them to the appointment:

• Picture ID for each filer. Valid forms of ID are current driver's license, state-issued photo ID card, military photo ID, U.S. passport, federal government photo ID or university photo ID

• Social Security card for everyone who will be listed on the tax return

• Form 1095-A  for those who purchased health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace

• Birth dates for everyone listed on the tax return

• All income statements

• All expense records

• Copy of last year's federal and state tax returns

• A voided or blank check for direct deposit purposes

• Identification number or Social Security number

Other items that may be required are adoption expenses, alimony payments, IRS notices, property tax bills, college tuition and student loan interest statements, and documentation of any other forms of income.

Bates said a scheduler will explain the items needed when a person calls to make an appointment.

Because February is the busiest month for tax filing, Bates suggests people call as soon as possible.

"The best thing to do is for people to ask for the soonest appointment available," she said.

For those who don't fit into the $54,000 income bracket, but make less than $62,000, Bates said the United Way offers an online tax program as well.

"The program caters to people who are comfortable with a computer and allows them to file their state and federal taxes without having to pay for a tax program," Bates said.

The program can be accessed at www.unitedwayerie.org/ErieFreeTaxes/MyFreeTaxes.

Bates said people who take advantage of the online tax program will be able to connect with a certified tax preparer if necessary.

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