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STAFF PHOTO/C.J. MARSHALL Tax Specialist Amy Keough of Liberty Tax Service holds up a 1040 tax form, one of the many used when filing an income tax return.

Once again, it’s time to fill out the necessary forms to determine if a person is due a refund or owes money to the federal government.

Filling out tax forms can be a daunting task - particularly when Congress opts to change what can or cannot be declared as a deduction. But those with questions and concerns can consult a local tax specialist who can provide specific information and other services for filing a tax return.

Among the tax consultants in the area and the services they provide include:

H&R Block, 129 E. Tioga St., Tunkhannock, 570-836-3973. Office Manger Dawn Weller reports that people will not see any major differences in filing their 2017 taxes compared to last year. But big changes are coming in 2018.

“New tax brackets have been set up, along with the elimination of the personal exemption,” Weller explained. “People seeing changes in their pay checks this year need to check that.”

H&R Block will help their clients go over their W-4s and other tax information to determine if any adjustments need to be made in the amount being deducted from their pay, Weller explained.

Many tax services are now offering loans to people based on the amount of their refund. Weller said H&R Block can arrange a zero fee, zero interest loan of up $3,000.

Weller also warned people to protect themselves against tax fraud.

“The only thing needed is a name, date of birth, and Social Security Number,” she explained.

One popular scam is for thieves to call someone representing themselves as IRS representatives, and demand immediate payment or sensitive information. The IRS will never directly call someone under such circumstances, Weller explained, it will always send a letter if there is a problem.

H.R. Block also offers a tax shield service to protect clients from tax fraud, she said.

Liberty Tax Service, 184 E. Tioga St., Tunkhannock. 570-240-4068. Tax Specialist Amy Keough reports that those filing their 2017 taxes will not find a great difference from the previous year. People without proof of insurance will still have to pay a penalty until the new tax laws go into effect.

“We are a full tax service,” Keough explained. “We offer and EZ Advance Loan of up to $3,250 against a tax return.”

Liberty provides free copies of tax forms prepared for its clients, she said. The office is open year round, and they also provide auditing assistance and correspondence assistance.

Lochen & Chase, P.C., 83 E. Tioga St, Tunkhannock, 570-836-3868.

“We do federal tax returns - corporation, partnerships and personal returns,” explained Administrative Assistance Jenna Robinson.

She explained that people with questions concerning the pending changes in the tax laws can obtain the information at Lochen and Chase’s website at www.lochen-chase.com. The website also provides information on the various services Lochen & Chase offers its clients.

“We help people prepare their personal 1040 returns,” Robinson explained. “We also do payroll, bookkeeping, estate planning and audits as well.”

Jodi Patton Tax Services, 2512 SR 309, Dallas, 570-362-0081.

“I have a lot of clients in Noxen and a lot of clients in the Beaumont area,” Patton explained. “I help people prepare their taxes. I also do bookkeeping and payroll.”

Patton is an independent agent who has been helping people with their taxes for 26 years. Many of her customers have informed her that what she charges for her services is much less than many of the corporate organizations, she explained.

Patton will work with her clients to obtain the best possible refund, and can provide them with up to a $1,750 advance via Freedom One.