VITA Helps Residents File Taxes

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PANAMA CITY - Procrastinators will more than likely be working on their income tax returns this weekend. The April 15th filing deadline is next Tueday.

The volunteer income tax assistance program, or VITA, is a United Way program that offers free tax preparation to households or individuals making less than $58,000 a year.

50 IRS certified volunteers, mostly retired tax professionals, give their time and services for free each year. As the filing deadline approaches, their office A.D. Harris Learning Village has been busy.

"It was getting down to the wire and thank vita for being here. They helped me out tremendously," said Mark Hoxie, a tax filer.

There are many reasons people wait until the last minute to file their tax returns.

"Sometimes the IRS and doing your taxes is a very daunting thing. I think that's the biggest challenge--being organized. And some when they get here find they owe a lot of money and they're very concerned about that," said Carol Jones, a VITA volunteer.

VITA volunteers say many wait to file because they believe they're going to have to pay more taxes. If you do owe more money, and you miss the deadline, you still have to send a check with your extension request.

"Try to estimate what they think they owe and try to send as much as they can or most of that in, because there is still interest," said Jones.

If not, it could cost you.

"If you file past the 15th you have a tax liability. You'll probably have to pay some more money to the IRS other than what you already owe from your taxes or your income," said Jones.

VITA will be available Saturday and early next week for those who still need help filing your returns.