The Southwest Missouri Office on Aging (SWMOA) in cooperation with the IRS will offer free tax assistance at area senior centers beginning Friday, Feb. 1.
The Tax Counseling for Elderly (TCE) Program provides free help to people age 60 and older across 17 counties in southwest Missouri.
"Seniors should take advantage of the free tax service offered by IRS certified volunteers because it saves them money," said Michelle Rice, Southwest Missouri Office on Aging financial projects coordinator. "Seniors on fixed incomes should not have to pay to get their taxes done when a free service is available."
Volunteer tax preparers will offer assistance in completing state and federal tax forms. Assistance will also be provided to help seniors who do not need to file returns, but qualify for a Missouri rebate on rent expenses, real estate taxes or nursing home expenses.
Seniors interested in receiving assistance with tax form completion should bring the following paperwork to the tax site:
* Valid photo identification and Social Security card.
* The previous year's tax return if it is available.
* A cancelled check or bank document that displays the account and routing numbers if the individual is interested in using direct deposit.
* All income statements, including 1099 Social Security statements, pension and retirement fund statements, interest dividends and W2s.
* Paid real estate property tax receipt or a statement of rent for the previous year with the landlord's signature and Social Security number or Employer Identification Number.
* Individuals who own a home on more than five acres and those who own a mobile home should bring a statement, form 948, from the county assessor's office showing the homestead portion.
* Individuals who are 100 percent disabled veterans, or otherwise disabled, should bring documents of proof.
Tax counselors will determine if seniors are eligible for the Missouri Property Tax Credit (PTC) housing expense rebate, which takes into consideration real estate property tax, rent, mobile home lot rental, personal property tax on mobile homes and nursing home costs paid from personal resources.
Applicants must have been 65 years or older by Dec. 31, 2011, and a Missouri resident for the entire year of 2011 in order to qualify for the PTC rebate. Individuals receiving surviving spouse Social Security benefits must be 60 or older or 100 percent disabled.
The TCE program will operate from Feb. 1 through April 15.
Tax assistance will be available at the Central Crossing Senior Center in Shell Knob from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Tuesday, and the Cassville Senior Center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Friday.
Services will also be offered at the Monett Senior Center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Thursday.
For more information, call the Cassville Senior Center at 847-4510, the Central Crossing Senior Center at 417-858-6952, the Monett Senior Center at 417-235-3285 or 417-868-9599 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.