2023 United Way Free Community Tax Service offers free tax preparation sites in Brown, Monroe, and Owen counties
Feb. 14, 2023, Bloomington, Ind. - United Way of Monroe County, along with community partners, is pleased to announce the 2023 Free Community Tax Service is open for the upcoming tax season. IRS-certified volunteers are ready to 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 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.
Additionally, area residents with a combined Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $72,000 or less can file online for free from the comfort of their homes or anywhere with an internet connection. Visit the United Way website to choose the right software option.
Community members can visit www.monroeunitedway.org/FreeTaxes for information regarding both in-person and online tax preparation options.
In 2022, the Free Community Tax Service program brought together 43 volunteers to help local residents file 940 federal returns, saving clients as much as $429,580 in tax preparation fees and bringing back more than $1,414,175 in refunds and credits, at 6 full-service VITA sites managed by United Way, plus 2 completely virtual sites managed by AARP/TCE. Clients reported using those funds and the Earned Income Tax Credits to pay for food, clothing, bills, rent, and to put toward savings. 170 filers received Earned Income Tax credits.
In conjunction with home buyer workshops, a personal finance blog, 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 Impact Director at United Way of Monroe County, says, “We are glad for the opportunity to continue to offer this important service to our community. We know how critical these refunds and credits are to our clients and in bringing back money to be spent supporting our local economy. I am continually amazed by the dedicated volunteers who help residents file with the free tax service. Now more than ever people are going to be relying on their tax refunds and credits for financial assistance during this difficult economy. We are grateful that our clients trust us with their tax returns.”
SERVICE AND TAX UPDATES
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) can result in a significant income boost - up to $6,935 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
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 those 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 2020, 2021, and 2022, can calculate their residency status for tax purposes at www.monroeunitedway.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 Monroe County and 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, and 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.
About United Way of Monroe County: United Way of Monroe County 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.