Park Passes, Hot Spots, and IRS Training at the Library

By Ginger Kohr

 

It is officially the fall season, which brings up three Fall-related topics at the Owen County Public library.

McCormick’s Creek State Park Passes Available:  Early fall is a perfect time for camping and for visiting beautiful McCormick’s Creek State Park.  At the library we currently have Park passes that can be checked out for one week at a time.  The passes take the place of an entry fee into the park.   Spend a day or spend a week camping and exploring the park and hiking the trails, visiting the caves and waterfalls, taking horseback or pony rides, fishing, playing tennis, canoeing, or going to the playground or nature center.   It’s a great place to get away or to enjoy as a “Stay-cation”.

Just visit the Main Desk at the Owen County Public Library and present your library card to check out a park pass.   If you do not have a library card, present picture ID and proof of your current address in Owen County.  Library cards are free, and since it is Library Card Sign Up month through the end of September, we are still offering a gift to each person who signs up for a new library card until October 1.

Hot Spots For Check-Out:  Fall break for Owen Valley students is approaching, as is the possibility of covid related returns to virtual learning.  The library has recently been awarded an Emergency Connectivity Fund grant (a part of the American Rescue Plan Act), for the purpose of acquiring 20 internet hot spots.  These hot spots are intended to provide students K-College with wi-fi to use for homework and virtual learning who do not have internet access at home.  The hot spots are filtered for use by children, so they are not intended to support social media, although they do provide access to e-mail.  We will supply instructions and a flyer suggesting the websites that are available and might be most helpful to students.

The hotspots will provide wi-fi in most locations where Verizon or AT&T cellphones have reception.    Each Hot spot comes with a case and a charger.  They may be checked out with a valid adult or intermediate library card and are available at the adult circulation desk or the Youth Services Desk upstairs.  Hot spots may be checked out for two weeks at a time.   We ask that you please return Hot Spots in person, rather than putting them in the Book Drop where they may be damaged.  Replacement cost is $25.  In case of loss or damage.

Free Tax Service Volunteers Needed

We are looking for volunteer tax preparers for the 2022 free tax service.  Volunteers don’t need any prior experience, just an interest in tax preparation and in helping your neighbors.  Volunteers need good computer and problem-solving skills

Volunteers receive free training in income tax law and tax preparation and become IRS certified.  The training is provided online.  Individuals work on the training at their own pace to finish the program, which is offered beginning in December, and must be completed by January 24, 2022.   Continuing Education credits are available.

The free tax service offers free federal and state income tax preparation to low- and moderate-income residents from January to April each year and helps spot tax credits that residents may not know they are eligible to receive.  The tax forms are typically simple form 1040 or 1040 EZ.  The Free tax service cannot provide service for taxpayers with complex tax situations.  At the Spencer tax site, we usually complete well over 200 tax forms each year.

If you are interested in becoming an IRS certified tax preparer, you may complete an online application:  www.monroeunitedway.org/TaxHero but also, please talk to Ginger Kohr at the library 812-829-3392 extension 2 or email gkohr@owenlib.org  for more information and so that we can begin making plans and schedules for our local site.

The other necessary qualification for a tax preparer is the commodity of time:  the schedule for the Owen County Public Library site will be created when we have volunteers in place.  We will create a schedule that works for our volunteers as well as for meeting the needs of the taxpayers.  The tax service is offered through United Way of Monroe County, and the information they provide to us states that volunteers are expected to be able to work at least 3-4 hours one tax shift per week at the tax site for the duration of the tax season (typically February through mid-April).    While we appreciate any time our volunteers can give us, we may need to ask for more time from our volunteers in Spencer, depending on the number of volunteers we have.  In the past we have usually offered the tax service on Saturdays and two or three half-days during the week.   We usually had 3-4 tax preparers here at one time.

Intake Specialist Volunteers also needed:  If you are less confident about your computer or tax preparation skills, but still want to volunteer, we also will need intake specialists, who will greet taxpayers and assist them in filling out the intake and interview form.  Intake specialists work with the tax site coordinator to assign the taxpayer to the next available and appropriately qualified tax preparer.  Volunteering for the intake specialist role could provide High School students with community service opportunities.

For anyone looking for an interesting way to spend your winter days and help your neighbors, who enjoys learning a new skill, or using a skill you already have, this might be for you.  Please let us know you are interested.

 

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