Serving Monroe, Owen, and Greene Counties

2020 Free Community Tax Service Begins

Free Community Tax Service Ready to Serve Residents of South-Central Indiana
 
 
United Way of Monroe County, along with other community partners, is pleased to provide the Free Community Tax Service during the upcoming tax season. Beginning January 29th, IRS-certified volunteers will be working at 12 sites throughout Monroe, Owen, and Brown counties where they will help Hoosiers who make less than $54,000 annually file their federal and state tax returns for free. 
 
Tax preparation is provided free of charge and volunteers work one-on-one with community members to ensure they receive 100% of their refund, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) if eligible. Residents will receive their tax returns quickly – usually within 10 days or less. United Way of Monroe County is happy to announce that the 12 sites this year include a full-service site at Brown County Public Library as well as a Chinese Student Site at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. 
 
In conjunction with personal finance classes, free financial coaching, and the Bank On Bloomington program, the Free Community Tax Service is a key component of United Way of Monroe County’s financial stability initiatives. Amy Leyenbeck, Community Initiatives Director at United Way of Monroe County, says, “Residents depend on this program to file their taxes year after year, as nearly 80% of taxpayers we serve are repeat customers. We are proud to be trusted with this important task for so many of our community members and we love to see the smiles on our clients’ faces when they realize the difference their refund amount is going to make in their financial lives.” Leslie Green, Executive Director at Stone Belt, one of the twelve tax sites, commented, “The Free Community Tax Service provides expertise, plus the convenience and accessibility of tax preparation for the people we serve as well as some of our employees. We are happy to partner with United Way for this benefit.”    
 
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) 
 
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) can result in a significant income boost - up to $6,557 for those who qualify. The EITC is a refundable federal income tax credit for low- and moderate-income working individuals and families. A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of taxes owed. Since it is a refundable credit, when the EITC exceeds the amount of taxes owed, it results in a tax refund to those who claim and qualify for the credit. 
 
Unfortunately, 1 out of 5 people who are eligible don’t claim their credit. Claiming the EITC is particularly important at a time when more workers may qualify due to reduced incomes. In order to claim the EITC, residents must file their tax returns, even if they are not required to file for another reason. Luckily, United Way’s tax volunteers are trained to ensure everyone who is eligible can access the EITC and any other potential credits. 
 
Bilingual tax preparation assistance available 
 
A new Chinese Student Site will be operating at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business exclusively under the direction of Chinese students. Services will be provided in English and Mandarin. This site will provide services on a first come, first served basis. 
 
The Free Community Tax Service team is partnering with the City of Bloomington again to provide a full-service Spanish Language tax site. Spanish speaking residents can file their taxes at this site with a certified bilingual volunteer, making the filing process much smoother and less intimidating for those residents. Appointments can be made in Spanish by calling (812) 349-3860 and the site will be open on Saturday mornings during tax season. 
 
Free, Convenient Online Filing 
 
Area residents with a combined Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $69,000 or less may file state and federal returns at no charge from the convenience of their home, local library, or favorite coffee shop. Visit the IRS Free File Online Lookup Tool (https://apps.irs.gov/app/freeFile/) to find the service that's right for you. 
 
The 2019 Community Impact 
 
 In 2019, the Free Community Tax Service program brought together 131 volunteers to help local residents file 2,317 federal returns, saving clients as much as $1,058,869 in tax preparation fees and bringing back more than $2.7 million in refunds and credits, at 10 full-service tax sites managed by United Way, plus 2 sites managed by AARP/TCE. Clients, including the 486 filers that received the Earned Income Tax Credit, reported using those funds to pay for food, clothing, bills, rent, and to put toward savings. 
 
Community Partners 
 
Along with United Way of Monroe County, partners of the Free Community Tax Service include 186 Bridge, AARP, Area 10 Agency on Aging, Broadview Learning Center, Brown County Library, Chinese Business Association, City of Bloomington, El Centro Comunal Latino, Ellettsville Branch Library, Indiana Legal Services, Indiana University Maurer School of Law, Internal Revenue Service, Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington, Monroe County Public Library, Owen County Public Library, South Central Community Action Program, Stone Belt, the YMCA, and over 130 community volunteers. 
 
For more information 
 
To learn more about the Free Community Tax Service, free tax preparation sites dates and times, a tax preparation checklist, the EITC, and to see if they qualify, residents can visit www.MonroeUnitedWay.org/FreeTaxes.   
 
 
 
United Way of Monroe County is a nonprofit organization that improves people’s lives by addressing critical needs today and working to reduce those needs tomorrow. Through its Community Action Fund and grant initiatives, United Way works with 24 member agencies and community partners to ensure families have opportunities and everyone can meet basic living needs.  
Related: 
  • Born Learning
  • Financial Stability Alliance
  • Monroe Smart Start
  • Familywize Discount Prescription Card
  • Bank On Bloomington