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Free Tax-Prep Sites Open in Kentucky

The IRS is now accepting e-file tax returns for 2018. (Ken Teegardin/Flickr)
The IRS is now accepting e-file tax returns for 2018. (Ken Teegardin/Flickr)
January 29, 2019

FRANKFORT, Ky. — With tax-filing season officially underway, IRS certified volunteers are standing by to help Kentuckians crunch the numbers.

There are nearly 200 free tax preparation sites across the state where low- to moderate-income filers can get assistance, including a mobile site operated by The Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Director of Economic Programming with the coalition, Andrea Miller, said the cost of a professional tax service is usually out of reach for many of their clients.

"For someone who has just a couple of dependents or just themselves and a couple of W-2s, those are easy returns to do. And we have heard that some paid preparers are charging people up to $300 and $400 for that,” Miller said. “That's a significant amount of money to pay for a really easy tax return."

KCADV's mobile site opens this week starting in Jackson.

Last year, preparers filed 359 returns, earning the average taxpayer a refund of more than $1,900. An appointment is needed and filers need to bring a photo ID, Social Security card, their 2017 tax return, and income verification. Miller noted they are not able to help with tax returns for farming or most small businesses.

She said nearly 1-in-4 of their tax clients are survivors of domestic abuse, who sometimes have been given bad financial information in the past. One client came to them with three years of W-2s because someone had wrongly advised her to not file.

"When we helped her to file, because we can go back three years to help claim credits that you might be eligible for and to help get back any tax that you paid in that you're eligible to receive, she had over $20,000 in refunds,” Miller said. “That's life-changing money. I was able to help her stay safe, keep safe, get housed, things like that."

KCADV's mobile site will be in several eastern Kentucky communities, including some Kentucky Community and Technical College campuses, and a Lexington neighborhood that serves many immigrants. Miller said other organizations throughout the state also are offering free tax preparation.

"In Western Kentucky, the Green River Asset Building Coalition operates several sites,” she said. “Louisville Asset Building Coalition also has appointments. There's the Central Kentucky Economic Empowerment Program and the Eastern Kentucky Asset Group; there's several different organizations in that area. And Northern Kentucky, that's run through The Brighton Center."

Information on tax services is available online at kcadv.org, or by calling 502-209-5382.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - KY