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Volunteers needed to help with tax preparation this season

Tax season is coming and the Great Plains Improvement Foundation needs volunteers for its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. 

Sheryl White, director of operations at the foundation, will lead two days of classes from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday that will instruct potential volunteers on the tax code, the programs that will be used to prepare income tax filings and any additional information needed to prepare taxes. 

Potential volunteers must be comfortable with operating a computer and using the internet, as well as have interpersonal skills. Anyone interested in volunteering  even those who have participated in the past  must attend classes both days.

"We need everyone to come in to make sure they get brushed up on everything and ensure that we're all on the same page when we start later this month," White said. "There aren't many changes in the tax law for 2017. It's pretty similar to 2016, actually. Next year is when we're going to see the real big changes. But we'll cross that bridge when it gets here."

White will provide all of the materials needed for the two sessions, but individuals must provide their own laptops. Once volunteers complete the two classes, they'll have about two weeks to become certified by the IRS ahead of the first day the foundation's tax preparation program on Jan. 25. 

"You're going to need to take a test online to be certified," White said. "We'll go over all of that in the class, along with everything you're going to need to be a volunteer with us."

Volunteers will be expected to donate at least 10 hours of their time each week, especially during the early weeks of the tax season. White said many people like to come in as soon as possible to file their taxes, so volunteers are very busy in the early part of the season. Volunteers can spread their time across four days each week. 

The Lawton Constitution

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