Fifth Year for Free Tax Preparation
The United Way of Aroostook is pleased to be partner with New Ventures Maine, Aroostook RSVP, ACAP, KeyBank, and VITA, to once again offer free tax preparation.
2017 marks the fifth year offering the program. Each year, taxes are prepared for low-middle income households earning less than $54,00, free of charge, at several locations throughout Aroostook County. As the United Way continues to grow the program, they hope to help 600 households.
The Tax Site Coordinator, Sandra Bartley, has been involved with the program since its inception five years ago. “I started as a preparer, but have since worked to coordinate and grow the program with United Way and its partners,” says Bartley.
RSVP has helped to provide the pool of volunteers. However, a volunteer does not have to be a member of RSVP to become a certified preparer. Volunteers attend several trainings in advance of tax season, take tax and ethics tests, and then qualify as certified preparers. All of this year’s preparers fall under the category of an advanced preparer. Clients can feel confident that they are being taken care of in a most professional and skilled manner.
People taking advantage of this service are welcomed by New Ventures Maine Greeters, given an intake form to fill out, and then a certified preparer takes the information to prepare the tax return. Following the preparation, New Ventures Maine has incorporated a “next step” to help people set financial goals to make the most of their refund.
Suzanne Senechal-Jandreau, New Ventures Maine Manager, says, “Our aim is to help them set goals to use their refund in the most effective way, whether that is through savings programs or to manage debt.”
This year, beginning February 2, the United Way is offering this service in Fort Kent, Presque Isle, and Houlton. To set up an appointment or for more information about the program or to become a volunteer, call the United Way office at 207-764-5197.
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