“Can’t beat FREE!” Volunteers at VITA sites available to help you file your taxes at no charge

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MILWAUKEE -- Uncle Sam's pay day is quickly approaching, and if you're procrastinating on your taxes because of money, or you don't know where to turn for help -- you should know there's assistance available -- FREE of charge!

"You can't beat free!" Jim McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin knows firsthand what a relief getting your taxes done properly can be.

"Slightly richer!" McLaughlin said.

He had his taxes prepared at St. Francis of Assisi Parish near 4th and Brown in Milwaukee.

"We are all volunteers. We do this for the love of service," Mari Maldonado, program director said.

St. Francis of Assisi is one of 200 sites statewide that are part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, or VITA, offered through the IRS.

"Anybody is really eligible to come, but we really focus on low income and elderly individuals," Maldonado said.

Mari Maldonado

Maldonado said volunteers are trusted and trained.

"The IRS has several different certifications, so we do from basic to advanced. Every taxpayer that comes through here does have their taxes quality reviewed by someone else, so we make sure they get all their credit, like Earned Income Credit, and Child Tax Credit and Education Credit as well as Homestead," Maldonado said.

McLaughlin said the volunteers' skills helped spot ways for him to save.

"Roughly a $1,000 of a benefit. Not only did we get the tax help for free, but my wife and I would have owed a significant amount ,but we were able to see by putting me on a traditional IRA, we were able to turn our tax debt into a tax refund," McLaughlin said.

Maldonado added the cost savings to the community as a whole are even bigger.

"Putting back $1 million in tax refunds to the Milwaukee community, especially, that's huge for people," Maldonado said.

This is a service that gives people peace of mind. Taxes can be overwhelming, and some don't have the means to pay for filing.

To find a VITA site near you, you can dial 211, or CLICK HERE to access the IRS' VITA Locator Tool.

The tax deadline is April 18th.