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Get your taxes prepared for free

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By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) –You can get your taxes prepared for free.

The IRS is working with non-profit organizations to set up tax sites with certified volunteers to assist those with a household income of $49,000 or less.

On Saturday, Georgia Legal Services and the South Central Georgia Asset Building Coalition will kick off tax season in Valdosta.

If you have a household income of $49,000 or less you can get your taxes done for free. You may also be eligible for tax breaks you didn't know about including the earned income tax credit.

"The earned income tax credits this year have actually been raised. Now you can claim three children where as in the past you could only claim two children," said JaTaryia Thomas, Georgia Legal Services. "You can get up to a maximum of $5,679."

Thomas is certified to prepare taxes through an IRS program called the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA).

"Usually the volunteer tax assistance sites are usually in Atlanta and last year was the first year that we did it in Valdosta," said Thomas.

Georgia Legal Services on Patterson Street is one of the many sites you can go to for the service.

"I've seen so many people pay so much money getting their taxes done every year $100, $200 and $300 when you can get it for free," said Tiffany Soma, Certified Tax Preparer.

To kick off the tax season, Georgia Legal Services and the South Central Georgia Asset Building Coalition are hosting the First Annual Earned Income Tax Credit Day Saturday at the Goodwill on Norman Drive from 11 a.m. To 3 p.m.

 At this one-stop resource event you can get your taxes filed for free if you fall under certain income requirements. Agencies will also be there to assist those in need of jobs, housing, and legal advice.

Be sure to bring: your driver's license, social security cards, all W-2s, a copy of prior year tax return, 1099 forms, and previous year tax economic stimulus payment. Your spouse must be present if filing jointly.

If you can't make it to the event, call Georgia Legal Services at (229) 333-5232 for a site near you. Sites are in Berrien, Brooks, Echols, Lowndes, Lanier, Pierce, and Tift counties.

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