Opening Soon: United Way Free Community Tax Services Sites in Brown, Monroe, and Owen counties
January 22, 2024 - Tax season is nearly here and United Way of South Central Indiana, along with community partners, will be hosting free in-person and online tax preparation as part of their 2024 Free Community Tax Service. Starting on Monday, January 29th, IRS-certified volunteers will serve clients at nine in-person sites in Brown, Monroe, and Owen counties. Hoosiers making less than $60,000 annually can receive help filing their federal and Indiana 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.
Two of the sites are managed by the AARP Tax-Aide Program -- at the Monroe County Public Library and Endwright East -- and do not have any income (or age) requirements for services.
Additionally, area residents with a combined Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $79,000 or less can file online for free from the comfort of their homes or anywhere with an internet connection. Visit the United Way website for more information.
Community members can visit www.unitedwaysci.org/FreeTaxes for information regarding both in-person and online tax preparation options.
In the 2023 tax season, the Free Community Tax Service program brought together 54 volunteers to help local residents file 865 federal returns, saving clients as much as $395,305 in tax preparation fees and bringing back more than $980,004 in refunds and credits. United Way managed 7 full-service tax sites, and AARP managed 2 sites. Clients reported using those funds and the $172,562 in EITC to pay for food, clothing, bills, and rent, and to put toward savings. Working families received $209,308 in child tax credits. The Free Community Tax Service helps many seniors in our community, who make up approximately 67% of the clientele.
In conjunction with a personal finance newsletter, free financial coaching, and the Bank on Bloomington program, the Free Community Tax Service is a key component of United Way of South Central’s financial stability initiatives.
Catherine Blankensop, Annual Giving & Community Impact Manager at United Way of South Central Indiana, says, “Now more than ever, the free tax service is needed to help strengthen the financial stability of people in our region. These refunds and credits, in addition to money saved on preparation fees, are critical to our clients and in bringing back money to be spent supporting our local economy. United Way of South Central Indiana is pleased to continue offering this valuable service to our community in partnership with our many dedicated volunteers who help residents file their taxes for free. We are grateful that our clients trust us with their tax returns.”
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.UnitedWaySCI.org/FreeTaxes.
SERVICE AND TAX UPDATES
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) can result in a significant income boost - up to $7,430 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 eligible people don’t claim their credit. Claiming the EITC is valuable as workers feel the crunch from the past few years of inflation. 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.
The Free Community Tax Service team is partnering with the City of Bloomington 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 residents. Appointments can be made in Spanish by calling (812) 349-3860.
This year, no locations are certified to assist with preparation for nonresident taxpayers. Taxpayers who know the number of days they were present in the United States in 2021, 2022, and 2023, can calculate their residency status for tax purposes at www.unitedwaysci.org/freetaxes-residency. Nonresidents with any relation to Indiana University can contact the Office of International Services for assistance: www.ois.iu.edu.
Along with United Way of South Central Indiana and the Financial Stability Alliance, partners of the Free Community Tax Service include 2-1-1, AARP, Area 10 Agency on Aging Endwright Center East, Brown County Public Library, City of Bloomington, First Financial Bank, Indiana University Maurer School of Law, Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington, MCCSC Broadview Adult Learning, Monroe County Public Library, Owen County Public Library, Regions Bank, and community volunteers.
United Way of South Central Indiana is a nonprofit organization that improves the lives and futures of all people in the community. We bring together expertise, funding, and volunteer support to positively impact the resilience of our community, and those who live within it. In partnership with others, we work to eliminate inequities experienced by low-income and diverse populations so that all people have a safe, healthy home environment, achieve their educational potential, and increase their financial stability. We commit to building bridges across cultural, racial, religious, and economic boundaries.