Free tax prep program brings $3 million back to the community

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News release from the United Way of Allen County:

Free Tax Prep Program Brings $3 Million Back to Community

(June 4, 2012) – Newly compiled statistics show that low- and moderate-income Allen County residents claimed over $3 million in tax refunds this year, thanks to the Free Tax Preparation Program coordinated by United Way of Allen County and the Volunteer Center @ RSVP. This is a 22 percent increase over last year’s $2.5 million. A total of 2,029 area residents received free tax assistance provided by dozens of IRS certified tax volunteers.

Additionally, the program saved residents fees for tax preparation and e-filing (approximately one-third of participants paid to have their taxes done last year). It also ensured that individuals had access to high quality tax services.

The program is coordinated by the Financial Stability Partnership, which is led by the Volunteer Center @ RSVP, Purdue Extension Services and United Way of Allen County. Residents earning less than $50,000 annually may qualify for free tax preparation, as well as the Earned Income Tax Credit, a federal anti-poverty program that provides tax credits up to $5,000 for low-income, working families. The trained volunteer tax preparers worked at Community Action of Northeast Indiana, St. Mary’s Church, and Euell A. Wilson Center.

“Providing opportunities for people to gain financial stability is one of United Way’s goals. The free tax preparation program is one example of our commitment to that goal. We also want to point out that this program is carried out by volunteers who, this year gave over 3,500 hours of service. Volunteer tax preparers are highly trained and all are certified and Volunteer Tax Assistance programs are consistently ranked among the most accurate and reliable in the nation,” said Todd Stephenson, president and CEO of United Way of Allen County.

“Most people we help use their refund to pay their bills,” said Jean Joley, Volunteer Center @ RSVP executive director. “This effort is critical to those individuals who are simply trying to accomplish the basics – pay for food, medical care and transportation.”

Members of the Financial Stability Partnership include: Volunteer Center @ RSVP, United Way of Allen County, AARP, Community Action of Northeast Indiana, St. Mary’s Church, Euell A. Wilson Center, The League for The Blind and Disabled, The City of Fort Wayne, Hispanic Leadership Coalition of Northeast Indiana, PNC Bank, Three Rivers Federal Credit Union, Public Service Credit Union, Wells Fargo Bank, Fifth Third Bank, Purdue Cooperative Extension Service, Internal Revenue Service, American Red Cross – Multicultural Exchange (MIX), Catholic Campaign for Human Dignity, Fire Police City County Federal Credit Union, First Source Bank, Consumer Credit Counseling Service and U.S. Senator Richard G. Lugar’s Northeast Indiana Community Service Center.

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