San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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March 1st, 2009
Tough times never last, but taxes do

Opinion
By SUSAN NARVAIZ
Mayor of San Marcos

Households throughout the country are experiencing one of the most severe financial challenges they have ever had to confront.  Many are overwhelmed with debt, are seeing their savings dwindle away or are falling behind in their mortgage payments. Low-to-moderate income families are seeking help from consumer credit counselors and debt management assistance organizations.

Now, more than ever, those struggling financially should seek help from two federal tax benefits, the Earned Income Credit (EIC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC).  Eligible families can receive as much as $4,824 from the EIC, and if they qualify for the CTC, they may get even more.

More than half of all taxpayers pay tax preparers to file their tax return. In addition, the San Marcos Public Library provides free income tax aid to qualifying individuals. This program will continue through April 13.

Volunteers from AARP offer free income tax assistance at the library on Mondays, 3-6 p.m., and on Saturdays, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. This service is offered to the handicapped, elderly and low income, and is guaranteed to the first 50 people per day. For Tax Year 2007, they filed 1,269 tax returns. Of these, 1,225 were e-filed.  The IRS Tax Wise software that they use automatically flags all returns that are eligible for the EIC. The total EITC for these tax returns is estimated at $270,000.

Taxpayers should bring a photo ID, property tax receipt, a copy of last year’s tax return, W-2 forms from each employer, unemployment compensation statements, their own social security card and social security cards for each dependent, child care provider information (name, employer ID, social security number), the amount of last year’s stimulus package rebate, and all 1099 forms.

Many taxpayers are not aware that they can have their refund deposited directly into their bank accounts. Electronic payments are processed faster and the taxpayer will receive the refund much more quickly. To take advantage of direct deposit, please bring your bank routing number & account number.

The library also has copies of standard tax forms, schedules, and publications.

During these changing times, we must all become more aware and knowledgeable of existing programs that can provide tax relief in the form of a reduction in taxes you might owe, or in the best case, an increase in the tax money that will be returned to your family.

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