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Free Tax Clinics to Serve Hancock County Residents

With tax season beginning in February, many Hancock County residents are looking for ways to get the highest return possible without having to pay a high fee. For the seventh year in a row, United Way of Hancock County is partnering with the Hancock County Agency on Aging, the Findlay Hancock County Public Library, Millstream Career Center, Ohio Benefit Bank (OBB), Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Hancock Hardin Wyandot Putnam Community Action Commission (HHWP CAC) to offer free tax clinics on various dates at locations throughout the community

VITA tax clinics are for individuals or families who made $53,000 or less in 2014. OBB tax clinics are for individuals who made $65,000 or less and families who made $95,000 or less in 2014.

To schedule an appointment, callers should dial 2-1-1, or with an out of area cell phone number dial 1-800-650-HELP (4357). Appointments are being taken now for clinics that will be held in February.

Callers will be asked a series of questions and will be informed of the items needed at the tax clinic. They will also be scheduled at the location that is most convenient. Walk-ins will also be accepted at the Findlay-Hancock County Public Library on Saturdays until April 15 from 10-3 p.m. and will be served on a first-come first-served basis. To see a list of items needed for tax preparation, visit http://liveunitedhancockcounty.org and click on the “free tax preparation” button.

One of the main goals of the free tax clinics program is to ensure that tax filers find out if they qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC.) The average EITC is about $2,982, yet many Ohioans eligible for the EITC do not claim it. Those unclaimed EITC funds mean that local communities miss out on millions of dollars that would have otherwise generated economic activity and growth. Also, clients using the free tax clinics can maximize their return without having to pay a high fee to have their taxes completed.

Individuals interested in being trained to become a volunteer tax counselor should visit http://support.ohiobenefits.org/taxes.html#training for online training. After taking the training, volunteers can contact Amber Hirt at the HHWP CAC to be scheduled for clinics. She can be reached at ahirt@hhwpcac.com or by calling 419-423-3755. Persons who complete the training and have access to a computer can also assist others on their own or through other organizations such as churches or schools. Additionally, trained counselors can assist family and friends.