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Free IRS Tax Software, West Alabama Works, Governor's Inauguration

The phrases "Internal Revenue Service" and "free of charge" may not seem to go together. But the people who collect your income taxes every year are offering a new system that’s available at no cost.

The FreeFile internet program is free for taxpayers who earn less than $60,000 per year. The system keeps track of your information and calculations as you fill out your tax forms and tells you if you make a mistake.

IRS spokeswoman Alejandra Castro-Nunez says the new system is especially useful now, because this is the first year taxpayers have to verify they have health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

“The software program will calculate your shared responsibility payment for you. And it will pop up all the forms you need. Whereas if you were doing it the old fashioned paper way, it would be much more difficult.”

A shared responsibility payment is the IRS term for the penalty you’d pay if you don’t have health insurance. Today is the first day the IRS will accept paperwork for your 2014 tax return.

Former workers at Tuscaloosa’s CINRAM compact disc factory are preparing for a chance at a new job.

West Alabama Works is holding a job fair in Tuscaloosa today for the approximately one hundred former Cinram employees who were laid off earlier this month.

The plant shut down abruptly earlier this month and the staff was sent home.

LeNa’ Powe is the director of West Alabama Works. She says there are a number of companies in the manufacturing, automotive and health care industries participating in today’s event, and they all have one very important thing in common.

“The one contingency issue that we put on the table was that their involvement was contingent upon the fact that they actually have jobs available. So we know that every participating company actually has jobs available, and that’s important."

The job fair will be held from 9 to 11 AM today in the Belk Community Center at Bowers Park in Tuscaloosa. Participants are encouraged to bring an updated resumé.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley was inaugurated for his second term in office yesterday.

In his inaugural address, the Governor spoke candidly about the challenges and tough decisions Alabama's leaders will face in the next few years.

The state's General Fund is expected to face a shortfall of approximately two hundred and sixty million dollars which lawmakers will have to balance.

Overcrowding in Alabama's prison system is another issue weighing on the Governor. Currently, Alabama's prisons hold nearly twice the number of inmates they were originally designed to house.

Despite these issues, Bentley told Alabamians that state leaders would not be shying away from the challenge.

It wasn't all pomp and circumstance at Governor Bentley's inauguration, however.

Two Alabama politicians, Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey and State Treasurer Young Boozer, took advantage of the mild weather by offering up mementos to the crowd.

Ivey handed out bright green sunglasses that read “Alabama's Future is Bright”.

And Boozer celebrated the occasion by poking fun at his name, handing out drink koozies reading “Young Boozer, Treasurer” and “Thanks for Another Round”.

Boozer says his name does require a pretty big sense of humor, but that it's valuable in politics because it's very hard to forget.

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