Teachers, firefighters, police, health care workers and military veterans are among those who can receive a break from fees for tax preparation this month.
Liberty Tax Service is offering free tax preparation for groups that serve their communities. A different group is being featured each week from now through April 4.
"This is our way of giving back to our community and those in the surrounding areas," said Deborah Wertz, owner of Liberty Tax Service's Tamaqua office, which opened at 111 East Broad Street in the Flat Iron building earlier this year.
Liberty Tax Service is a retail tax preparation company founded in 1997 by CEO John T. Hewitt, who also founded Jackson Hewitt Tax Service. Since its inception, Liberty Tax Service has prepared over eight million individual income tax returns.
When her office opened in Tamaqua, Wertz said Liberty had planned to do 200 free tax returns. As a way of doing this, the firm is holding "Appreciation Days" during each week this month.
The first week is "Educator Appreciation Days" and began on Feb. 26. Wertz said it was extended into the end of this week.
The company is saluting area teachers, all school employees and bus drivers by offering them free tax preparation,
"The free tax preparation includings regular federal, state and local returns," explained Wertz. "It is not just for the 1040-EZ."
Wertz added that the free tax prep is for individuals and not for those who are conducting a business, although businesses could be eligible for other discounts from Liberty Tax Service.
"We are offering this as a public service to people we think are often overlooked in the community," stated Wertz.
The rest of the "Appreciation Days" schedule is as follows.
"Police and Firefighter Appreciation Days" are underway and will continue through March 13. Those interested should bring an ID card indicating they work in law enforcement or volunteer as firefighters.
March 14-21 are "Health Care Worker Appreciation Days" and include nurses, dentists and others in the profession. Anyone interested should bring a W-2 showing they are employed in the health care business.
March 21-27 are "Military Veteran Appreciation Days." Veterans should bring ID cards or other forms indicating military service.
March 28-April 4 are "Non-Profit Volunteer Appreciation Days" and includes any volunteers for non-profit organizations, including non-paid EMTs and volunteers with community ambulance associations.
The free tax prep is not limited to the Tamaqua area and is open to surrounding communities in the Panther Valley, Pottsville and Blue Mountain School Districts.
In addition to the "Appreciation Days," Liberty Tax Service has held two road-side parties to raise funds for Harold "H.T." Fryer of New Ringgold, a former Tamaqua Area High School football player who has been diagnosed with a rare bone marrow disorder. Wertz said Liberty presented $600 to Fryer and has raised another $100.
Liberty Tax Service is open all year round, not just during tax season. Anyone interested in participating in Liberty's "Appreciation Days" can call the Tamaqua office at (570) 668-4026 or email Liberty6041@yahoo.com. Appointments are preferred but walk-ins are accepted.