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Volunteers are needed for tax assistance program

PLATTSBURGH — A service that helps low- to moderate-income people file their taxes is looking for volunteers.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and AARP Tax Aid program in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties helped 4,150 low-income individuals and families last year get their taxes done for free, producing almost $5.9 million in total refunds for these people. The Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition of the Adirondacks, chaired by Kathy Snow, director of development of the United Way of the Adirondack Region Inc., is seeking volunteers for this program for the upcoming 2020 tax season.

Volunteers are sought for seven locations: the Lake Placid Public Library, Goff-Nelson Memorial Library in Tupper Lake, Senior Citizens Council in Plattsburgh, Malone OneWorkSource, Mohawk Indian Housing Corporation of Akwesasne, and locations in Essex County.

The program offers free tax help to low- to moderate-income people who cannot prepare their own tax returns, including older adults, veterans, the disabled and those in rural communities.

Volunteers assisting with the VITA & AARP Tax Aid Program come from all walks of life: retirees, college and high school students, and other who just want to help in their communities. They do not need to have experience in taxes. Certified volunteers sponsored by various organizations receive training to help prepare tax returns. Online training is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week via IRS.gov and allows volunteers to take courses and obtain certification at their own pace.

Supplemental classroom training on tax law and using tax preparation software is also offered.

The classroom training will start on Oct. 9 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at SUNY Plattsburgh.

Volunteers can also choose a role that doesn’t require tax law certification. There are two volunteer roles that are needed at the tax preparation sites, greeter-screener and tax preparer.

To volunteer or for more information, call Kyle Miller at 518-546-3565 for Essex County, Melissa Howard at 518-359-7688 for Franklin County or Kate Gardner at 518-566-0944 for Clinton County.

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