Free tax help: Be sure to bring social security card

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HANOVER, VA (WWBT) – More than a dozen employees at the Hanover County Department of Social Services volunteer their time to help folks do their taxes for free. Now, as April 15 is getting closer, they are seeing more people come in, and they don't want anyone to waste precious time.

"We are seeing a huge increase of families who need this service," said Monica Chenault, Hanover County DSS.

Every Wednesday night the waiting room has been packed with people--some of whom once paid to have their taxes done.

"What I'm hearing from folks is that they paid for this service anywhere from 250 and 550 dollars, and so this year they can't afford the service," said Chenault.

The volunteers at Hanover DSS can help just about anyone who makes less than $49,000 a year, which means they likely qualify for a hefty earned income tax credit totaling more than $5,000--and changes this year include more people.

"You can claim 3 children, in the past it's been 2 children and the income requirements have gone up, last year it was about $42,000 and this year it's $49,000, so there are a lot of families in the area that make less than $49,000, and it's any filing status, they can be single, they can be married, they can be head of household and we can still file for anyone who makes less than $49,000" Chenault said.

Trouble is--a lot of people coming in for help don't have the right documents.

"The biggest thing is that they don't have their social security card, and because we are an IRS volunteer site, the IRS requires that we see the actual social security card, so you can't come in with just your number or a previous years' tax return that has the number on it," said Chenault.

DSS must see the original card for the person filing and everyone that person is claiming. If you don't have your card, you can bring in an official letter from the social security administration showing that you've requested a new one instead.

There are free tax help site all over Virginia. To find one in your area that fits your schedule, just dial 211.

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