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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 29, 2012

Fong: Taxpayers Should Check Out Free Tax Help

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 Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Program and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program offer free help to taxpayers who meet certain requirements such as income or age limits.

"About 40 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."

The IRS, AARP, and various other organizations come together to offer the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Program. TCE offers free tax assistance, including return preparation and filing services, for qualified taxpayers. The tax help sites are staffed by volunteers who are trained and certified by the IRS. The volunteers are usually retired individuals, accountants and other professionals. The volunteers are familiar with the tax laws and filing requirements in place and they receive yearly updates on the tax changes.

"Taxpayers who meet the eligibility criteria should check out 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."

The TCE sites provide free services for people aged 60 and older as well as low-to-moderate income individuals.

The VITA sites are sponsored by the IRS and VITA workers provide free tax preparation services, primarily for low-to-moderate income (generally $49,000 or less), elderly, or disabled individuals who file basic tax returns.

The TCE and VITA 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 TCE or VITA site, call 1-800-829-1040 or visit the Tax Department's web site, www.nd.gov/tax, for a listing of sites.

"Tax time can be a stressful time for some people," said Fong. "These sites are an important resource by offering assistance to taxpayers at no charge."

For a list of the 2012 IRS TCE (AARP) and VITA sites in North Dakota, and for more information about e-file and free e-file, visit the Tax Department's web site at www.nd.gov/tax or connect with the Tax Department on Facebook and YouTube.

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Check out the YouTube message: Free Tax Return Preparation Services for Eligible Taxpayers

2012 VITA-AARP TCE Sites
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