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Doing one’s taxes can not only be time-consuming and tedious, but also expensive. Not just in potentially owning the government money, but the amount it takes to even file a return correctly and confidently.

Genesee County and Genesee Community College are joining together to provide free tax filing services for lower income individuals. Mark Castiglione -- the Director of Financial Services for the Genesee County Department of Social Services – spoke today on WBTA’s Main and Center program.

“A lot of times I’ll ask somebody,” Castiglione said, “‘Do you mind me asking when we get done with ours -- because it’s free – what you paid to file this last year?’ And it ranges, usually, depending on how many forms you have to file, anywhere from $75 to $200-225. People are very grateful for the services our volunteers do provide.”

Those making less than $51,000 a year and have a fairly simple tax return – for example no big capital gains or losses or less than about $5,000 in self-employment – are eligible for an appointment.

Cheryl Corke, an accounting professor at GCC and VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program director, says the benefits of these services are widespread.

“The students," Corke said, "through their income tax course, become certified preparers in the Fall. So those that chose to volunteer in the spring – not related to any course work, they’re total volunteers – become a great source for preparers for us.”

176 tax returns were executed last year as part of the program. It is booking up quickly: up to 3 1/2 to 4 weeks in advance.

To participate, make an appointment with social services by calling 344-2580 ex. 6552.

GCC is also offering four walk-in sessions right at the college that start Feb. 12 and run through April 4.

  • Tuesday, February 12th 4:00-7:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, February 26th 4:00-7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 21st 4:00-7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, April 4th 4:00-7:00 p.m.

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