Resident encourages others to have taxes prepared by FiveCAP

With her 70s nearly behind her, Lake County resident Lois Perry is glad to hand over the task of preparing her income tax return to the Community Support Services workers at FiveCAP, Inc.

“I don’t like to do my taxes myself,” Perry said. “I did them myself for years, but I’m going to be 80 years old in a couple more weeks.”

FiveCAP offers tax preparation services to income-eligible residents of Lake County free of charge at the county office in Baldwin. Perry has had FiveCAP’s Dawn Summers prepare her tax return for the past three years and said the process is quick and convenient.

The staff uses online software to prepare the taxes and, unless otherwise requested, files the forms through the Internet to expedite the return.

FiveCAP encourages low-income residents and senior citizens to take advantage of the service, even if they aren’t required to file an income tax return. Home heating, earned income and property tax credits often equate to money back for people who otherwise wouldn’t file.

Like many other senior citizens, Perry isn’t required to file a tax return, but is eligible for tax credits that, most years, lead to her getting a check from the government.

In 2011, FiveCAP prepared taxes for 1,030 households in Lake, Mason, Manistee and Newaygo counties for a total of $961,410 in returns. This money helps bolster the local economy, with returns often being spent on goods, services or bill payment.

Tax preparation appointments can be scheduled by calling the Lake County FiveCAP office at (231) 745-4617. The following documents will be required on that date:

  • Any W-2 and/or 1099 forms
  • Year-end statement for those who receive Social Security benefits
  • Year-end and quarterly statements for those who receive SSI benefits
  • Family Independence statements from the Department of Human Services
  • Child support statements
  • Unemployment benefit statements
  • Any other statements for income received in 2011
  • Heating costs from Nov. 1, 2010 to Oct. 30, 2011
  • Property tax statements (both summer and winter) with State Equalized Value
  • Birthdays and Social Security numbers for themselves and any dependents