Free tax resources in the Treasure Valley

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by Karen Zatkulak and KTVB.COM

NWCN.com

Posted on April 8, 2013 at 3:46 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 13 at 7:14 AM

BOISE -- Monday marks the one-week countdown until the April 15, 2013 tax deadline.

There is a free service available in the Treasure Valley for those who haven't filed, and may need assistance to do so.

Boise's Community Action Partnership and the United Way have offered the service for the past ten years.

Last year, nearly 5,000 people in the Treasure Valley used the free service, and it led to more than $5 million total in combined tax refunds.

DO YOU QUALIFY?

Those who want to find out if they qualify and find a free tax office in their area should contact the Idaho Careline by dialing 2-1-1.

Last year, more than a thousand IRS certified tax experts volunteered their time to help low-to-moderate-income families. Individuals must make less than $51,000 a year to qualify for the service.

There's also a free online option for filing federal and state tax returns. It's the My Free Taxes website at: http://myfreetaxes.com/BoiseCoalition. The online service is for taxpayers who make $57,000 or less per year.

PEACE OF MIND

Those receiving the help say it gives them both financial assistance and peace of mind in an often stressful time.

Loretta Cloutier recently went to the temporary free tax office in Boise. She's between jobs, and wasn't sure she could afford the help she needed to get her taxes done.

"It was amazingly smooth and easy, and honestly it took my blood pressure down about 20 points," says Cloutier.

Cloutier said she had several issues with her taxes this year, and needed someone to walk her through it. She's grateful this office was available, free of charge.

"At a time when you're trying to make the most of a small budget, it makes a huge difference, and that's the biggest thing, what a crucial positive difference it did, it gave me a leg up to get me back on my feet," says Cloutier.

Organizers say the service in an incredible value.

"For a person or family who is really struggling to make ends meet, paying for tax services can be an additional burden to them, so this service is incredibly valuable," says Treasure Valley United Way President Nora Carpenter.

The service is indeed, valuable, especially for people like Cloutier, who say they appreciate everything the service gives back.

"The money issue is crucial, but far more important is the peace of mind it gave me, because it meant I'm under less stress," says Cloutier.

The service is offered every year, starting in early February. It has seen so much success, organizers are hoping to expand, and open other offices in other nearby areas.

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