The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 6, 2014

CSO, Inc. To Sponsor Free Income Tax Preparation

The Daily Item

— SHAMOKIN — Central Susquehanna Opportunities, Inc. will once again be sponsoring the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program, a critical anti-poverty initiative of the IRS. The VITA Program will run Jan. 20 to April 11, at locations throughout Columbia, Montour, and Northumberland counties.

The VITA Program relies largely upon local volunteers to prepare and file basic federal and state income tax returns for low- to moderate-income individuals and families at no cost. VITA helps working families, seniors, and others avoid professional tax preparation fees and refund anticipation loans, and ensures they receive the tax credits for which they are eligible, like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the Child Tax Credit, and the Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled, all at no cost. Volunteers also complete PA Property Tax/Rent Rebate forms.  In 2013 CSO, Inc. completed 445 returns serving 532 clients. The total refunds to our area totaled $ 504,461.00 which included $179,439.00 in tax credits.

As a volunteer tax preparer, you provide a tremendous service to the American public and to your community.  You can train in the comfort of your home via the IRS’ Web site.

The program is a self-paced training program based on the VITA/TCE tax return preparation process. This training will introduce you to the major components of the VITA/TCE return preparation process and demonstrate how they contribute to your ultimate goal—preparing a complete and accurate return.

You may progress quickly through material that comes easily to you, and repeat difficult concepts until they make sense.  This program does not require you to memorize a lot of detailed information. Because it is process-based, the course teaches you how to use the tools, techniques, and resources available.  This means that everything in the course is open book.

To be eligible, individuals and families must have earned $50,000 or less in combined income for the year.   Volunteers do not prepare itemized returns. Please note that appointments are required. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call the CSO Community Action Agency at (570) 644-6575, ext. 171.

CSO is actively seeking volunteers, partnering businesses, and program sponsors. To become a volunteer tax preparer, to partner your business with this program, or to sponsor this program, please contact Tonya Batchelder, VITA coordinator, at (570) 428-5689, or