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Free tax prep program kicks off this weekend

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 | Posted by

By MELODY KARPINSKI / Santa Rosa Correspondent

The Sonoma County Earn It! Keep It! Save It! tax preparation program will kickoff this Saturday with an event at Empire College. The program, which provides free tax prep assistance for low-to-moderate income households, is a United Way coalition available in Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake Counties.

Households who earned up to $50,000 last year will be able to receive the service through the Earn It! Keep It! Save It! (EKS) program. Volunteer EKS tax preparers are IRS-certified, and are knowledgeable in ensuring clients claim the tax credits they are eligible to receive.

EKS has now expanded to include over 20 organizations located within the three counties. Each partner organization in the coalition will offer a different set of services along with serving as a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site during tax season.

In 2012, $2.4 million in refunds came back to local communities, with an average refund amount of $1,800. This year, the coalition’s goal is to prepare at least 2000 tax returns.

The kickoff event will occur on Saturday, Jan. 26., from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Empire College at 3035 Cleveland Ave. Volunteer tax preparers will provide free tax preparation for early season walk-in clients. Appointments are also available in advance. Free. Info: 800-325-9604. unitedwaywinecountry.org. To find a Santa Rosa location near you, see list below.

SANTA ROSA locations: Community Action Partnership, Lawrence Cook Middle School, Empire College, Goodwill Industries, Human Services Paulin Building, Roseland University Prep, Sonoma County Dept. of Child Support Services and the YWCA.

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Ann Hutchinson is our Santa Rosa correspondent.
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