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Free tax prep help available to most residents

Once again, free tax preparation help is available to most people.
Matt Hopson, the director of the asset building case management for the Beaumont-based Catholic Charities said his organization is offering help along with several other providers through the VITA program.
VITA stands for volunteer tax assistance and locally it is sponsored by the IRS, Lamar University, Entergy and Catholic Charities. The way it works is, volunteers who have been trained in tax code will help people file their taxes. The program is open to anyone, families and individuals, who make less than $54,000 per year.
Hopson said his office is in its third week of helping people, and they’ve been doing a brisk business.
There are free services throughout the area, and the times vary at each location. Hopson’s location is the Catholic Charities office at 2790 Eastex Freeway in Beaumont, and they offer help Mondays, from 5 to 7:30 p.m.
“We’re doing it all the way to the 10th of April,” Hopson said. Catholic Charities will be closed April 3.
He added that residents need to bring in a few things to get their taxes done.
“We have a checklist on our website,” he said. “They will need a driver’s license, social security cards for all individuals including the dependents, the documents that were sent to you from your employer, any social security documents and any and all income verification documents.”
He said this year people will also need to bring in proof of health insurance, or they could face penalties.
In Port Arthur, residents can get help Mondays from 3 to 7 p.m. at the library at 4615 9th Ave. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the West Side Development Center at 601 W. Dr. Ransom Howard.
In Orange, residents can get help by appointment only at the Jackson Community Center suite 107 by calling 409-779-1981.
The second location in Beaumont is the Neighborhood Resource Center on the old fair grounds. They offer help on Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and they’re located at 2850 Gulf St.
No matter where one goes, one thing remains the same.
“All services are free,” said Hopson.
To find another location by zip code, visit the IRS’ website, irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep/.