Volunteer-run Free Community Tax Service brought $2.7 million in tax refunds and credits back to local community in 2019
Local residents in Monroe, Owen, and Greene counties who participated in the 2019 Free Community Tax Service program filed 2,317 tax returns at no charge and received more than $2.7 million in federal and state tax refunds and credits. The Free Community Tax Service provides free tax preparation and electronic filing of federal and Indiana tax returns for low- and moderate-income households.
Free one-on-one tax preparation was provided by 131 IRS-certified volunteers at 11 sites -- including a revived site at the Brown County Library -- saving clients up to $1,058,869 in tax preparation fees. Community partners AARP Tax Counseling for the Elderly (AARP/TCE) recruited volunteers and managed the Northwest YMCA and the Monroe County Public Library sites. Additionally, free tax filing was available online at MyFreeTaxes.com.
Volunteers also helped 486 filers receive the Earned Income Tax Credit, worth up to $6,269. Those who received refunds reported using them for food, clothing, bills, rent, and to put toward savings.
"The Free Community Tax Service helps local families keep more of their hard-earned money and put it to good use," says Community Initiatives Director, Amy Leyenbeck. "We are grateful to the talented, dedicated and detail-oriented volunteers who make these results possible year after year, and we know that we could help more families if we had more tax heroes! Please contact United Way if you are interested in learning more about taxes, helping people boost their income, and saving residents money by helping them file for FREE.”
Volunteers came from all walks of life including students from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business and Maurer School of Law, retired financial professionals, and community volunteers who see this as a positive way of giving back where they work and live. These individuals promoted, managed, and operated free tax sites and served as IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers, quality reviewers, and site coordinators. Those interested in volunteering for 2020 should contact Amy Leyenbeck at email@example.com.
Along with the United Way of Monroe County, partners of the Free Community Tax Service include 2-1-1, AARP, Broadview Learning Center, Brown County Library, Chinese Business Association, City of Bloomington, Ellettsville Branch Library, Indiana Legal Services, Indiana University Maurer School of Law, Internal Revenue Service, Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington, Monroe County Public Library, Northwest YMCA, Owen County Public Library, South Central Community Action Program, Stone Belt, WorkOne Bloomington, and community volunteers.
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 everyone has opportunities and can meet basic living needs. For more information, visit www.MonroeUnitedWay.org.