Free tax-preparation service for qualified residents

Families and individuals who earned less than $53,000 last year can receive free assistance with their 2014 income tax returns at locations in Henrico County and throughout the metropolitan region.

Metrocash, a coalition of local nonprofit, business and government organizations, is hosting 12 sites, including two in Henrico. IRS-certified tax preparers and other volunteers will help qualifying taxpayers prepare and file their federal and state returns at Dumbarton Area Library, 6800 Staples Mill Road, 4-8 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays through April 9; and Fairfield Area Library, 1001 N. Laburnum Ave., 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays Feb. 7-March 14. A complete list of sites and their operating hours is available at metrocash.org.

To receive assistance, participants should bring photo ID, Social Security or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number cards, copies of tax returns from 2013, W-2 and 1099-R forms, and any other income tax-related documents.

In addition to getting help with their taxes, participants will learn if they are eligible for the Earned Income Credit (EIC), a tax benefit that could boost a federal refund by more than $6,100 for families with at least three children and nearly $500 for individuals. EIC eligibility is based on income.

Last year, Metrocash volunteers helped area residents file more than 3,000 tax returns, generating nearly $995,000 in EIC funds and $2.7 million in federal refunds. Metrocash estimates the free service saved its clients more than $600,000 in preparation fees.

More information is available at the Metrocash website and by calling 211.