HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Tax time is upon us once again. You’ve probably even started to get a few tax forms in the mail. Before you file your taxes, think about saving the money you’ll get back — because it could pay off even more this year.
The United Way of Madison County and Impact Alabama will again sponsor the SaveFirst initiative. The project, in connection with UAHuntsville, provides free tax preparation services for local working families.
“Our biggest challenge is for people just to understand that it’s legitimate – it’s hard for people to believe there’s a high quality free service like this available,” explains Stephen Black, Director of the University of Alabama’s Center for Ethics.
SaveFirst trains college, graduate, and law students to provide free tax preparation services and opportunities for savings and economic improvement to low-income, working families — especially targeting those eligible for an Earned Income Tax Credit refund (EITC).
“This is an opportunity for them to do 2 things: one is to learn. It’s the best possible tax experience short of working in the industry, and then 2, they’re giving back to the community,” says tax lawyer and UAHuntsville Business Professor Charles Hickman.
Families who made less than $52,000 last year with kids in the home or $20,000 without kids in the home qualify for this free service.
“There’s just no reason, especially for relatively simple returns, for anyone making less than $52,000 to go pay a commercial preparer what now averages over $300 an hour for something that we can do at a really high level for free to be supportive of working families.”
-Huntsville: Optimist Recreation Center, 703 Oakwood Ave NE
-Huntsville: United Way of Madison County: 701 Andrew Jackson Way NE
-Decatur: Turner-Surles Community Center, 702 Sycamore St SW
-Florence: Weeden Elementary School, 400 Baldwin St
The primary campaign is January 20 through March 8, although the United Way will continue providing services at its office through April 15.
This is the eighth year for Impact Alabama’s SaveFirst initiative. During 2013, SaveFirst served 1,357 families in Huntsville, Decatur, and Florence, helping them to claim $2.9 million in refunds and save $400,000 in commercial fees. This represents a 32% increase in families served compared to the prior year.
If you meet the income criteria and would like to schedule a free tax preparation appointment, call 1-888-99-TAX-AL.