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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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Day two of David Pecker testimony wraps in NY Trump trial; Supreme Court hears arguments on Idaho's near-total abortion ban; ND sees a flurry of campaigning among Native candidates; and NH lags behind other states in restricting firearms at polling sites.

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The Senate moves forward with a foreign aid package. A North Carolina judge overturns an aged law penalizing released felons. And child protection groups call a Texas immigration policy traumatic for kids.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

Tax prep services for low-income Minnesotans short on volunteers

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Thursday, February 22, 2024   

Minnesotans with low to moderate incomes can turn to free services to help get their tax returns ready to file but some programs are saying a lack of volunteers means they cannot assist everyone.

Community Action Agencies are among the offices helping file income tax returns for qualifying households.

Tara Kaufman, community service specialist for Tri-County Community Action in north-central Minnesota, said they are fortunate to have some volunteers on hand but they are still well short of what is needed to serve additional clients. For example, she pointed out the schedule is booked through April at their Brainerd site.

"It is one area that we have continuously struggled with, is getting other volunteers who might be able to come a few hours a day at one of our sites, for the whole tax season," Kaufman explained.

Even though the tax filing deadline is about a month and a half away, Kaufman still encouraged anyone interested to sign up for training. She noted volunteers could also help with other tasks, allowing the current roster of certified tax preparers to focus on returns. The offices have on-site locations, including at some assisted living facilities and apartment complexes, to help people with transportation barriers.

The federal government does have a free e-file program for eligible households.

Carol Laudenbach, financial program assistant for Lakes and Pines Community Action Council in Mora, said not everyone has internet access. And maintaining no-cost programs ensures individuals dealing with hardships have their tax filing needs met.

"Helping people understand taxes and helping them certainly meet their tax liability," Laudenbach outlined. "We're also committed to having them reap the benefits, as much as they can, of available credits."

Among the credits available in Minnesota is a new Child Tax Credit worth up to $1,750 for each child age 17 and under in qualifying households. Laudenbach added filers can use the refund to cover an expense weighing down their family's budget, as opposed to paying fees collected by tax preparation companies.


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