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Free income tax preparation available to low- and moderate-income families

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North country families with low to moderate incomes may receive assistance filing income tax returns, but many participating agencies already are booking into next month.

Residents of Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties are encouraged to call as soon as possible to make appointments through the free Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, in which volunteers prepare by going through Internal Revenue Service training workshops.

“Now when people call, (appointments) are at the end of March,” said Beverly G. Howlett, family services manager at Lewis County Opportunities.

The VITA program there runs only from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays at the agency, 8265 Route 812, Lowville, and that’s about all the four volunteers can handle because of the long-term commitment, Mrs. Howlett said. She said more volunteers who are trained later this year could help increase appointment availability next year.

In Jefferson County, the Community Action Planning Council is booking into the second week of March. Mary J. Mathewson, family center coordinator, said appointments are encouraged.

While CAPC went without a location in Adams last year after the Rohde Center was unable to be a host site, CAPC brought back an Adams location this year at the town/village offices. Maintaining a southern Jefferson County site was crucial, Mrs. Mathewson said.

“You may have individuals that don’t have transportation,” she said. “To have it in different areas of Jefferson County is huge. We might be able to reach out to more people.”

CAPC tax preparers will be available at the following locations:

n CAPC, 518 Davidson St. Call 782-4900 for appointments between 9 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays through April 15.

n Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library, 229 Washington St. Call 782-4900 for appointments between 9 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. Saturdays through April 13.

n Paynter Senior Center, 914 Strawberry Lane, Clayton. Appointments will be available from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday and Feb. 20 and 27. More dates may be scheduled based on need. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 782-4900.

n Town/village of Adams offices, 3 S. Main St., Adams. Appointments are available from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays until April 13 by calling 782-4900.

Appointments at the following sites are on a first-come, first-served basis for the St. Lawrence County AARP group:

n Massena Community Center, 61 Beach St., from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays until April 15.

n Midtown Apartments, Munson and Waverly streets, Potsdam, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays until April 9.

n Canton: From 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays at the Canton Fire Department, Riverside Drive, and from 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays at Partridge Knoll, 30 Sullivan Drive (by appointment only). Call 212-0409 to make an appointment at Partridge Knoll.

n Dobisky Community Center, Riverside Avenue, Ogdensburg, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursdays until April 11.

SeaComm Federal Credit Union, the Akwesasne Housing Authority and the SUNY Canton VITA site will host Super Saturday tax events from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday at SeaComm’s Massena Branch, 79 Main St., and from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Ogdensburg branch, Gateway Plaza. Appointments are required by calling 800-764-0566.

SUNY Canton accounting students will offer the VITA program from 10 a.m. to noon Mondays and Wednesdays and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays in Cook Hall, Room 116, until April 4. To schedule an appointment, call Christa Kelson at 386-7979.

The Jefferson County Department of Social Services also will offer free income tax preparation through the VITA program for eligible families from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays until Feb. 23 at the agency, 250 Arsenal St. People are encouraged to call the agency at 785-3320 to set up an appointment. The department also will take walk-ins through Feb. 28, and tax preparation will be available by appointment only from March 2 to April 15.

To qualify, households must make a gross annual income of less than $51,000. People should bring income statements, a Social Security card for themselves and people listed on their taxes, a picture identification card and bank routing numbers if they wish to file electronically. Only simple returns will be prepared.

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