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United Way of Monroe County Launch Free Community Tax Service

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United Way of Monroe County and the Financial Stability Alliance for South Central Indiana and partners have launched the Free Community Tax Service for this year in Monroe and Owen counties. Community Initiative Director, Ashley Hall says the program started four years ago.

“A lot of our sites in the community had been offering volunteer tax assistance many years before that, but they hadn’t come together as a cohesive program,” Hall says, “United Way came on board to bring together these people working on it and to bring on board people we had hoped to get involved.”

As the service continues to grow it has been able to provide help to more people in the community.

“The program expands every year we offer it,” Hall says, “There are more sites and options. Not only are there full-service, one-on-one options, there are self-service sites and an online option you can do anytime. We have continued to utilize more volunteers from the community, and we already have about 200 IRS-certified volunteers.”

Individuals can file their own taxes for free at a self-service site at WorkOne or online at MyFreeTaxes.com/Bloomington. A few locations that the Mobile sites will visit include Bloomington Housing Authority, LifeDesigns, Positive Link and Stone Belt. Hall says the purpose of the program is to offer free tax preparation and to make sure residents know they are eligible for valuable credits.

“The credit is important because we know that about 25 percent of people eligible don’t claim their credit,” Hall says.

For more information on the Free Community Tax Service you can visit MonroeUnitedWay.org/FreeTaxes.

Daily Local News – February 7th, 2014

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The Deputy Director of Indiana Civil Rights Commission, Akia Haynes, announced yesterday that there is probable cause that Indiana University Health racially discriminated a former employee; The night manager at a Bloomington laundromat told the City Council that people experiencing homelessness are increasingly trying to spend the night at the business; Yesterday 13 Indiana businesses added their names to the “Employers for Freedom” coalition; A nationwide propane shortage is hitting Indiana hard during this year’s severe winter.

FEATURE
Free Tax Help From IU Law Students
Doing your taxes isn’t always straightforward, and it can be even more confusing for foreign students or someone whose first language isn’t English. Indiana University’s Maurer Law School and Kelley School of Business offer a free program for tax assistance, called VITA (VYE-tuh), specialized for those who are not from this country and are unfamiliar with the tax code. WFHB correspondent Casey Kuhn talked to Charles Gray, one of the program directors, for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

VOLUNTEER CONNECTION
Local organizations scout the listening area for service help on Volunteer Connection, linking YOU to current volunteer opportunities in our community.

CREDITS
Anchors: Helen Harrell, Chris Martin
Today’s headlines were written by Lyndsey Wright, Neal Earley, and Mike Glab
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by Adam Riechle, along with Correspondent Casey Kuhn
Volunteer Connection is produced by Emma Ohland, in partnership with the city of Bloomington Volunteer Network.
Our engineer is Nick Tumino,
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes.
Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Monroe County Treasurer’s Office Late On Financial Reports.

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Two Monroe County officials gave a presentation Tuesday in hopes of quelling fears about a looming financial dilemma.

The officials spoke before the County Council about the fact that the County Treasurer’s Office has fallen several months behind on required financial reports.

Without filing the monthly documents, the county would be unable to distribute tax money to other units within the County, potentially leaving local governments like the city of Bloomington and the town of Ellettsville unable to meet their obligations.

Although the office hasn’t filed a report since May, County Treasurer Cathy Smith said her staff made up for lost time in recent weeks.

“We’ve been working hand-in-hand with the Auditor’s and Commissionors Office in keeping up to speed with where we are each day,” Smith said, “I think it’s fair to say that we are in the final preparations to approve a settlement.”

The County Auditor’s Office needs to approve the reports by Dec. 20 in order to send money on to other governmental units.

Auditor Steve Saulter said he’s confident the money will be distributed, even if the entire process is not complete in time.

Saulter said that’s partly because the law allows him to distribute 95% of the money before all the approvals are finished.

“I can’t promise we’ll get the whole settlement process done with the timing and holidays,” Saulter said, “We’ll complete the process the first week of January.”

During the presentation, Smith made another request to the County for a fifth employee in her office. She said that would help address future issues like this one, which she said was caused by the loss of a staff member.

“We don’t want to lose someone with all the knowledge again,” Smith said, “It just doesn’t make sense.”

Several members of the County Council thanked the Treasurer’s office for working to complete the reports before the deadline. Council President Geoff McKim said the county avoided what could have been a “pretty serious problem,”

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