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Free Tax Help Available for Michiganders

Help is available to ease some of the tax-time burden. (Pixabay)
Help is available to ease some of the tax-time burden. (Pixabay)
March 20, 2017

DETROIT -- Tax season can be a stressful time for many, but free help is available across the state to ease some of that burden and make sure Michiganders get the refunds and credits they're entitled to.

Every year, hundreds of IRS-certified, trained volunteers across Michigan devote their time to processing and filing more than 100,000 tax returns at no charge. Ross Yednock, program director for the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan, said without that assistance, many people would miss out on money due to them, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit.

"And that can be several thousands of dollars federally. And then Michigan has specific credits as well, and that's the Homestead Property Tax Credit, and then the Home Heating Credit,” Yednock said.

Michiganders can find the closest free tax site by dialing 211 or by logging on to MichiganFreeTaxHelp.org. Appointments are necessary at most sites, and it's important to bring proper documentation, including any W2 and 1099 statements, Social Security benefit statements and property tax information.

Marshall Hunt, director of tax policy and advocacy at the Accounting Aid Society of Detroit, said they've been offering free tax assistance since 1976, and each year they typically help about 20,000 people - most of modest means. He said it's important to note there is no state regulation of paid tax preparers, and like many industries, there are some bad apples out there.

"I think any time anybody can so-called guarantee you a certain amount of refund, or say 'I can get you $4,000,' or something like that, that should be a real red flag,” Hunt said.

Also noteworthy - this year's tax deadline isn't the usual Apr. 15. That date is a Saturday, and Monday is a holiday in Washington, D.C., pushing the deadline to either file taxes or apply for an extension to midnight on Tues., Apr. 18.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI