Down one location and with about the same number of volunteers, area agencies still expect to help bring a few million dollars back into the community through the state Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.
All VITA programs involve Internal Revenue Service-certified volunteers helping low- and moderate-income families get their taxes done for free. Last year, more than $4 million in refunds was returned to the north country through these programs.
The Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County oversees the VITA program at four locations, one less than last year. The Rohde Center, Adams, is no longer a location the agency can use.
Next year, we will have a site in Adams, said Mary J. Mathewson, CAPCs family center project manager. Its for the sake of privacy concerns because they recently expanded, and theres no room.
In years past, several hundred people would have their taxes done at that location but now must call CAPC at 782-4900 to schedule an appointment elsewhere.
Mrs. Mathewson said the program, which began Monday at CAPC, 518 Davidson St., already has its 13 volunteer tax preparers booked through much of February.
Thats the same case in Lowville, at Lewis County Opportunities. Beverly G. Howlett, the agencys family services manager, said people in Lewis County should call the agency at 376-8202 and then dial 0 for the operator to schedule an appointment between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturdays through April 14. Three volunteers assist with that program.
In St. Lawrence County, SeaComm Federal Credit Union, St. Lawrence County Cooperative Extension and the Akwesasne Housing Authority have teamed up to offer the program. Free tax preparation events will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at SeaComms branches at 101 E. Main St., Canton, and 3001 Ford Street Extension, Ogdensburg.
Jerry Manor, SeaComms business development coordinator, said the credit union is trying to get the word out this year on earned income credit. The tax credit is available for families with total income $51,000 and under, he said.
The VITA program also will be offered at SUNY Canton from 10 a.m. to noon Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays until April 6, except during school breaks. People interested in having the five participating students prepare their state and federal returns may call Peggy Jenkins, assistant professor of accounting, at 386-7979.
Also in St. Lawrence County is the AARP Tax-Aide program, where volunteers from that countys AARP Chapter 2831 will be preparing taxes in Massena, Potsdam, Canton and Ogdensburg.
Tax preparers will be available by appointment at the following locations:
■ Jefferson County Department of Social Services, 250 Arsenal St. Call 785-3014 for appointments between 5 and 8 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays until Feb. 23. There will be no appointments Feb. 20. The department will also have appointments between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, Feb. 18 and Feb. 25 at its office and between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday at the Carthage American Legion, Carthage. Walk-ins will be welcome.
■ CAPC, 518 Davidson St. Call 782-4900 for appointments between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays through April 13.
■ Flower Memorial Library, 229 Washington St. Call 785-7705 for appointments between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays only through April 7.
■ The American Legion, 415 West St., Carthage. Call 493-1545 for appointments Feb. 7 to April 10.
■ Paynter Senior Center, 914 Strawberry Lane, Clayton. Call 686-3553 for appointments Wednesday, Feb. 8 and March 7.
Appointments at the following sites are on a first-come basis for the St. Lawrence County AARP group:
■ Massena Community Center, 61 Beach St., Massena, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays until April 16.
■ Mid-town Apartments, Munson and Waverly Streets, Potsdam, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays from Feb. 7 to April 10.
■ 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).
■ Dobisky Community Center, Riverside Avenue, Ogdensburg, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursdays from Feb. 2 to April 12.