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2/19/2013 11:39:00 AM
Free tax prep on tap Feb. 28 in Williams
Tax preparers ready for second round March 21
Free tax preparation is available in Williams Feb. 28.
Free tax preparation is available in Williams Feb. 28.

David Yankus

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Representatives working with the United Way and the Americorps VISTA program are offering free tax preparation in Williams, Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon for those looking for help with filing their taxes.

To qualify for free tax preparation in Flagstaff and Grand Canyon, a households' income must be less than $51,000. However in Williams, there is no income or age limit for individuals or families looking to receive free tax preparation.

The TCE (Tax Consultants for the Elderly) program is sponsoring the tax preparation in Williams.

But don't let the TCE name cause confusion, everyone of all incomes and all ages are welcome to have their taxes prepared for free.

The tax prep in Williams will take place at St. John's Church at 202 W. Grant Ave. on Feb. 28 from 5-8 p.m. and March 21 from 5-8 p.m.

Karen Peters, who works with the Americorps VISTA program, has been organizing the free tax preparation program in Williams since 2009. VISTA stands for Volunteers in Service to America.

"There are very few restrictions, if you have a small business or a rental property or something like that we really can't get into that type of tax preparation," said Peters. "But if you have 1099s from interest or income, normal things that all of us should have, we can deal with it."

Peters said the Williams program's tax preparers are Brad Massey and Pam Dreyer, as well as her husband, Doug Peters.

"They have all been trained to the advanced level. So they can do more complicated returns, if someone moved for example," Peters said. "But if we can't do it, we also have access to all the folks in Flagstaff so that we can set that person or family up with somebody else that has those skills."

The United Way trained all the Williams volunteer tax preparers using the Link and Learn program through their website. Tax prep training includes more than 40 hours of studying, learning and practice. The volunteers also have three years experience each.

"This is a commitment of their [the volunteers'] time," said Peters. "It's important to make sure people are claiming things that they are eligible for, like the earned income tax credit (EITC). It's a continuing education process for us all."

Peters said tax refunds could be received in as little as 10 days with direct deposit. She said the Americorps VISTA program is always looking for volunteers. Volunteers began training around Jan. 1.

"Having a VISTA in the community is different than just having a VISTA come to town, do their stuff, then go away," said Peters. "I didn't go anywhere so I feel a responsibility to keep on."

Those looking for tax preparation help should bring the following: a picture ID for taxpayer (and spouse), original social security or ITIN cards for all household members, proof of income including all W2s and 1099 forms, all other important tax documents and relevant receipts, name, address and tax ID number of child care provider, amount of money paid to child care provider last year and account and routing numbers for direct deposit. A copy of last year's tax return is helpful but not necessary, and if filing jointly both adults must be present to sign the return.

The Grand Canyon tax preparation program will take place at the Grand Canyon Recreation Center at 2 Mohave St. on Feb. 25 and March 4 and 11 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Flagstaff tax prep programs will take place at multiple locations throughout the next couple months.

Coconino High School (south entrance) at 2801 N. Izabel St. every Saturday until April 13 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Lura Kinsey Elementary at 1601 S. Lone Tree Rd. on Feb. 28, March 14, and April 3 from 4:30-7:30 p.m.

St. Pius at 2237 E. Cedar Ave. on March 5 and 26, and April 9 from 4-7 p.m., as well as on April 15 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church (basement) at 224 S. Kendrick St. this Thursday, as well as on March 7 and 28, and April 11 from 1-4 p.m.

Family Resource Center at 4000 N. Cummings St. on March 1 and 15, and April 5 from 4-7 p.m.

More information is available at (888) 635-0545 or at

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