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No Need To Fear; Tax Help Is Here at Memphis Public Libraries!

By: Marcey Wright

Filing income taxes is free and easy at Memphis Public Libraries! The story has details.

The April 15 deadline to file 2013 taxes has some taxpayers screaming for "help", but Memphis Public Library customers are taking advantage of free tax assistance offered at several Library locations.

A partnership with AARP and VITA, this community service gives customers a reliable and worry-free way to file their federal income taxes. To get started, Memphis Public Libraries maintains a webpage of community tax resources throughout Memphis, Shelby County, and the surrounding area.

"It can be a financial burden to pay a professional tax preparer for people with low to moderate income," noted Audrey May, LINC/2-1-1 public services supervisor. "Our role as the Library is to provide information and access to these services without the financial burden. We provide people with the information and tools to make life easier, and this is one of those tools!”

Primarily serving customers ages 60 and over, AARP volunteers work on a first come, first served basis at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, Cordova Branch Library, and Bartlett Branch Library.

              Bartlett Branch Library (5884 Stage Road)
              Mondays and Tuesdays, 10 am – 1:30 pm
              Through Monday, April 14

              Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue) 
              Mondays – Saturdays, 10 am – 1:30 pm
              Through Tuesday, April 15 
              (Library is closed April 4.)

              Cordova Branch Library (8457 Trinity Road) 
              Thursdays, 10 am – 1:30 pm
              Through Thursday, April 10

Customers of all ages with low to moderate income can choose from several Library locations, where VITA tax professionals will be there to help.

              Cornelia Crenshaw Branch Library (531 Vance Avenue)
              Wednesday, April 2, 2014, noon – 4 pm

              Parkway Village Branch Library (4655 Knight Arnold Road)
              Thursday, April 3, 2014, 1 pm – 5 pm

              East Shelby Branch Library (7200 East Shelby Drive)
              Saturday, April 5, 21014, noon – 4 pm

              Frayser Branch Library (3712 Argonne Street) 
              Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 1 pm – 5 pm

              Gaston Park Library (1040 South Third Street)
              Thursday, April 10, noon – 4 pm

              Raleigh Branch Library (3157 Powers Road)
              Friday, April 11, 2014, noon – 4 pm

Customers are asked to bring their social security card, income and tax documents, and any other information noting medical fees and charitable contributions (if itemizing). The previous year's income tax return is also helpful but not mandatory.

“There are no rip-offs. Customers’ information is kept completely confidential,” added Adult Services Coordinator Wang-Ying Glasgow. “Credibility is essential. The Library, AARP, and VITA are reputable resources to help customers prepare their taxes. They are all trusted sources,” she stressed.

“Libraries are trusted guardians of information,” May added, “and we take that responsibility very seriously to make sure that information is accurate, unbiased, and reliable.”

In addition to its reliability, tax services at the Library offer quality and convenience, even for customers filing last-minute income tax returns. Super Tax Days will be held at Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue, meeting rooms A – C) from 10 am to 4:30 pm on April 12, 14, and 15. Tax preparers will be on-hand each day to help customers meet the last-minute rush!

“We appreciate our volunteers for their dedication and for volunteering to provide this much-needed service to the community,” Glasgow added. “And it’s free! It doesn’t get much better than that.”

Click here for more information about the Library’s free tax assistance or other community tax resources.