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600 E. Boulevard Ave.
  Bismarck, ND 58505-0599
  701.328.7088 phone
  701.328.3700 fax
  877.328.7088 toll-free
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Beth Boustead, Public Information Specialist, 701.328.3039
Thursday, March 5, 2009

Fong: Taxpayers Should Check Out Volunteer Tax Sites

BISMARCK, N.D. – Tax Commissioner Cory Fong reminded taxpayers today about two programs for people who need help filing basic income tax returns and cannot afford to pay a tax preparer. The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Program offer free help to taxpayers who meet certain requirements such as income or age limits.

“Taxpayers who meet the eligibility criteria should check into the volunteer sites,” said Fong. “The sites are staffed by trained volunteers who are knowledgeable about the different federal and state forms, credits, and other deductions that taxpayers might miss on their own.”

VITA sites are sponsored by the IRS and VITA workers provide free tax preparation services, primarily for low-to-moderate income (generally $42,000 or less), elderly, or disabled individuals who file basic tax returns.

The North Dakota AARP offers the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Program. The TCE provides free tax help that targets older taxpayers (age 60 or older) as well as low-to-moderate income individuals.

The VITA and TCE sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls, senior centers, and other convenient locations. Most locations also offer free electronic filing. To locate the nearest VITA or TCE site, call 1-800-829-1040 or visit the Tax Department’s web site, www.nd.gov/tax, for a listing of sites.

“Nearly 50 sites around the state are available to help eligible individuals prepare their returns,” said Fong. “And most sites offer free e-filing, which is the fastest way for taxpayers to receive their refund, and it’s even faster if the refund is deposited directly into the taxpayer’s bank account.”

Fong added that taxpayers who have a computer and Internet access might qualify for free e-filing of their federal and state income tax returns. To use the free e-file services, taxpayers must access the free e-file from the Tax Department’s web site at www.nd.gov/tax. Taxpayers need to meet certain eligibility criteria established by each company, usually based on age, income, military status or earned income tax credit eligibility.

“I encourage taxpayers to take a few minutes to read and compare the various offers for free e-filing found on our web site,” said Commissioner Fong. “Many of North Dakota’s taxpayers will qualify for filing their federal and state taxes at no charge but they need to access the Free File option found on the Tax Department’s web site.”

For a list of the 2009 IRS VITA and TCE (AARP) Sites in North Dakota or for more information about e-file and free e-file, visit the Tax Department’s web site at www.nd.gov/tax.

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