The Marshall County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) will be providing free income tax preparation and electronic filing again this year, which will allow most taxpayers to file not only their federal return, but also their state return electronically.

The IRS starts accepting returns Jan. 27. No one can file before this date — even if one prepares their own return or has someone else prepare it. RSVP’s tax sites has opened to prepare returns now and file them on Jan. 27. RSVP says come in early, get it done and let them worry about filing it.

The IRS reminds taxpayers that a new law requires the IRS to hold refunds claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until mid-February. In addition, the IRS wants taxpayers to be aware it will take several days for these refunds to be released and processed through financial institutions. Factoring in weekends and Presidents’ Day, the IRS cautions that many affected taxpayers may not have actual access to their refunds until Feb. 27, if they chose direct deposit and there are no other issues with the tax return.

Preparation of individual income tax returns will be offered at the following locations during the tax season with no appointment necessary:

• Albertville Center on Broad — Jan. 31-Feb. 28; Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Closed Feb. 17). Open March 2-April 10; Mondays and Fridays from 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Closing April 10 at noon.)

• Arab Senior Center — Jan. 28-Feb. 27; Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Open March 4-April 9; Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. (April 9 closing at noon.)

• Boaz, Public Safety Building, located across from Farmer’s Market — Jan. 27-April 7; Mondays from noon-5 p.m. and Tuesdays from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Open Feb. 3-27; Thursdays from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

• Guntersville Recreation Center — Jan. 28-April 9; Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (No new returns accepted on April 19.)

The IRS and the Alabama Department of Revenue are encouraging all taxpayers to file electronically. You can file federal and state income taxes electronically for free through all of the sites listed above. When you come on site, one of the assistors will help you to file an electronic return. With a joint return, both spouses must sign the return before it can be processed. If you owe money, electronic filing allows you to file your return the day it is prepared and you can wait until any time before April 15 to send in the money you owe. If you are receiving a refund, it can be processed more quickly by having the funds directly deposited into your bank account or into multiple accounts, such as checking, savings and retirement savings accounts.

If you have a tax question that can be answered by telephone, assistors will be available to help Feb. 3, 10, and 24 from 10 a.m.-noon at 256-571-7734.

This tax program, a volunteer income tax assistance program sponsored by the IRS, RSVP and United Way, offers special assistance to those with special needs, including older taxpayers, shut-ins and persons with disabilities. By calling 256-571-7734 to make an appointment, a tax assistor will help you with your tax return at any of the Senior Centers or Nursing Homes in Marshall County.

Forty-eight RSVP volunteers have completed an IRS training course in basic income tax preparation for Federal Form 1040 and Alabama forms, including accompanying Schedules A, B, C, D, EIC, SE and numerous Forms. These trained volunteers can alert taxpayers to special credits and deductions for which they may be eligible, such as Earned Income Credit, child tax, child care, education, medical savings, and tax credit for the elderly.

Sites are all walk-in, first come, first served — no appointment. All tax preparation is done in strict confidence. Remember to bring last year’s return, photo ID (Alabama Driver’s License, required to file Alabama return), health insurance coverage (1095-A, B or C), copy of a check with bank routing number and account number for direct deposit and Social Security Cards for all family members.

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