Volunteers for the local AARP Tax-Aide have started training on how to prepare taxes. Last year about 350 people took advantage of the free service; this year the same number or more are expected.
"We have people come from Alabama and Philadelphia," says Sandra McMullan, who is the local coordinator for the initiative.
However, because leaders in Washington did not agree on tax changes until the start of the new year, the IRS is being delayed and will not accept any returns until January 30th. Despite the delay for filing, Barbara Matthews, who's a local H&R Block Office Leader, says now is a good time to at least do the needed paperwork.
"It won't go to the IRS until January 30th, but you can get it prepared," says Matthews. "You'll know what the result is and what your refund is and it will be in the first batch of returns that the IRS will accept."
This could mean that the people who file first could get their returns first.
For small business owners and others who have complex returns there may be additional filing delays. That's because some of the forms, which the IRS prepares that are used by those taxpayers, are not ready. In fact, some of those forms are not expected to be ready until late February or maybe early March.
Aside from delays, this year's tax results could affect individuals' health care costs.
"The state exchanges will open in October 2013," says Matthews. "Everyone has to have health insurance by the first of 2014. What these state exchanges will do is use the information on the 2012 tax return, the one that you're getting ready to file now, to see if you possibly qualify for a government subsidy that will help you pay for your health insurance premiums."
At this time the deadline to file taxes is still April 15th.
Starting February 5th the AARP Tax-Aide initiative in Meridian will provide free tax preparation. The service is open to anyone throughout the tax season on Tuesday and Thursdays from 9 AM until 1 PM. Reservations are required. To schedule an appointment call (601) 482-0512.
This Saturday, January 19th, H&R Block offices in Meridian will sponsor Open House events from 11 AM until 1 PM. The public is invited to stop by the offices and get their tax filing questions answered.