Free tax preparation assistance is available to anyone who makes $56,000 or less through STEP’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance.

Trained volunteers will be available on Mondays and Thursdays by appointment only from 3:45 to 6 p.m. at the STEP office, 200 Dent St., Rocky Mount. Those who want help getting their tax returns prepared need to bring a picture ID, social security cards for all taxpayers and dependents and all tax-related documents such as W-2. They should also bring a copy of their last year’s tax return if possible.

VITA is an IRS-sponsored program aimed at helping lower income individuals. STEP offers the assistance each year with the help of trained volunteers.

People who take advantage of this service can save $200 or more in tax preparation fees, according to Janet Schofield, who is coordinating the program. Last year, STEP helped residents in Franklin and Patrick counties e-file 528 returns, saving low-income taxpayers more than $131,000 in tax preparation fees.

With the help of volunteers, the taxpayers received a cumulative federal refund of $661,838 or an average of $1,270 each. Almost 500 state tax returns were prepared with cumulative refunds totaling $110,673.

To make an appointment, call STEP’s Rocky Mount office at 483-5142.