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      VITA offers free tax preparation

      (WCIV/Richey Boyd)

      By Tessa Spencer tspencer@abcnews4.com

      CHARLESTON, S.C.(WCIV)-- The tax man cometh! Are you prepared? Do you have what you need? And more importantly, can you really afford to pay someone to prepare your taxes for you?

      If you can't afford the high fees associated with filing your federal and state taxes this year, you may want to try the Charleston Urban League's VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program. It allows families that earn $50,000 or less a year to have their taxes prepared and filed by a qualified volunteer tax preparer at no cost.

      Some tax credits have gone away, including the "Make It Work" credit that taxpayers have benefited from for the past two years. Working families were able to get a flat $400 credit when filing.

      If you are unemployed and received unemployment benefits last year, that income is taxable and you must file a 1099G form.

      In order to make the tax filing process a little less stressful, there are several VITA locations planned. The kick-off will be held Saturday January 28th from 10a-4p at Northwoods Mall and at Citadel Mall on Saturday February 4th from 10a-4p. During the two kick-off events, you can also get registered to win a $100 gift card.

      A total of 22 VITA locations will be open every Saturday up until the tax filing deadline. To see a list of those sites visit www.ctul.org.

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