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County library offers free tax help to seniors

By David Knopf/Richmond News

Tax assistance for senior citizens and low-to-middle-income families will be available Tuesdays beginning Feb. 4 at Ray County Library.

Provided by trained AARP volunteers, the free tax preparation will be offered at the library, 215 E Lexington St. in Richmond, each Tuesday through April 8.

Volunteers will be available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Taxpayers who are disabled or over 65 may be eligible for a refund from the state for rent or real estate taxes paid – even if their income is below the amount that requires them to file a return.

Individuals in that category should bring a rent statement from a landlord or a paid real estate tax receipt, as well as income statements for Social Security, interest earned and pensions.

They’re also asked to bring proof of payments for any supplemental health and/or drug insurance premiums.

Adam Zumwalt, a University of Missouri Extension personal financial planning specialist, suggests anyone preparing to file a tax return consider a few steps to become organized.

• Get a manila folder or large envelope and leave it where you open your mail. Put 1099, W-2 and any other tax forms in the folder as they arrive. Having the forms in one handy place will save you from searching for them later, Zumwalt said.

• Also, review investments and consider increasing contributions to your IRA. You have until April 15 to contribute to your IRA for the 2013 tax year.

• There are few major changes in tax laws this year for the average wage earner.  The premium tax credits and penalties from the Affordable Care Act won’t go into effect until the 2014 tax year.

• For people under 65, the threshold for deducting itemized medical expenses has increased from 7.5 to 10 percent of gross adjusted income. There are no changes for those 65 and older.

Zumwalt said now is a good time to shop for someone to file your taxes, or look for a free program like those available at Ray County Library or through the United Way and Walmart at www.myfreetaxes.com.

The United Way program is for those making $58,000 or less annually.

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