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Residents can receive tax aid at local YMCA location

Sponsored by Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Ross, the third annual free tax volunteer site is being offered for families with an annual income of $52,000 or less at the Centennial Hills Active Adult Center YMCA, 6601 N. Buffalo Drive.

“I want to help people put money back into the economy,” Ross said. “There are so many struggling families out there. An extra hundred dollars can go a long way for them. It can pay for food, bills and (clothing).”

Last year, the program helped Centennial Hills residents return $13.3 million in tax credits and $23.9 million in tax refunds throughout Southern Nevada, according to Ross.

The United Way of Southern Nevada, a community volunteer force, offers free volunteer training for tax preparers.

Volunteers go through four to five days of training and are asked to work approximately five to 10 hours each week.

This year, there are fewer than five volunteers at the Centennial Hills site, according to Ross. Volunteers range from retired professionals to people in the banking industry.

“Literally anybody can do it,” Ross said. “It’s not rocket science. Plus, it’s great to see the smiles on someone’s face.”

Second-time volunteer Terry Bullock started volunteering as a way to give back to her community.

“If you’re used to doing your own taxes, then it’s not too bad. You get the concept pretty quickly,” Bullock said. “I have been doing my own tax returns by paper and pencil, so I was up on all my tax rules.”

She added that the classes have taught her how to help the general population with simple tax returns. Typically, one volunteer will prepare the tax return, and another will check it over.

She said there are different levels of schooling for volunteers, ranging from basic to advanced and specialized trainings.

The site is overseen by volunteer Tuesday James, Ross’ assistant, who is at the site to answer questions.

James is also in charge of talking to people and screening out those who have complicated returns. She informs people on what they need to bring, such as a photo identification and Social Security card.

Bullock said volunteers could do on average three appointments per hour, although it is difficult to judge how long it will take.

James also has access to an IRS contact person in case there are any problems.

Volunteers advise people bring in their previous year’s tax return to help with the process.

Although walk-ins are welcome, Bullock advises people to schedule an appointment. There are no guarantees that walk-ins will be seen.

The service is set from noon to 5 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, with the last appointment at 4 p.m., through mid-April.

For a list of free tax preparation sites in Las Vegas, visit uwsn.org/free-tax-preparation-sites.

For more information on the Centennial Hills tax preparation program or to volunteer, contact Tuesday James at 702-229-5463.

Contact North Las Vegas and Centennial View reporter Sandy Lopez at slopez@viewnews.com or 702-383-4686.

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