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Free Tax-Help Program Opens For Moderate, Low-Income Miami Valley Residents

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An annual Dayton program offering tax-filing help to moderate and low-income Miami Valley residents opened Friday and is expected to remain open throughout this year's tax season, operating more than a dozen free tax-prep sites staffed by IRS-trained volunteers.

The Dayton Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Coalition is comprised of more than 20 local agencies and businesses, including the city of Dayton and Montgomery County.

Last year the coalition assisted more than 8,000 residents with their taxes.

Verletta Jackson with the Dayton Planning and Community Development office says it’s a good idea for many taxpayers to turn to a professional for help in finding any tax credits and deductions that may be available. But she says that kind of individual assistance is often expensive.

“And what we want to do throughout our city and our community is to be able to provide this service to anyone that makes less than $56,000 a year,” she says. “So, we have 15 different sites and volunteers available to start doing taxes on January 21.”

Jackson says this year's goal is to help more than 10,000 people. She says the program's benefit is two-fold: not does it provide a free tax service for Dayton-area residents, but it also helps maximize the millions of potential dollars that come back to the local economy through tax refunds each year.

Tax preparers will help eligible taxpayers claim the federal Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, which can range from $529 for an eligible taxpayer with no dependent children to more than $6,500 for eligible taxpayers with three or more dependent children.

Anyone needing assistance filing their taxes is urged to call the United Way of Greater Dayton at 937-913-2000 to make an appointment.

The Dayton Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Coalition members include:

City of Dayton, Montgomery County Job and Family Services, Miami Valley Community Action Partners, University of Dayton, Dayton Children’s Hospital, United Way of the Greater Dayton Area, Wesley Community Center, CareSource, Dayton Metro Library, Life Enrichment Center, Greene County/Xenia Library, Dayton Christian Center, Summit Christian Church, St. Paul United Methodist Church, Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley, and the Dayton Ombudsman Office, Fifth Third Bank, First Financial, Huntington National Bank, KeyBank, PNC Bank, US Bank, Premier Health, Wright-Patt Credit Union, and Waste Management.

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Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.