Monroe and Owen County residents save 1.7 million in tax returns



From IDS reports

Monroe and Owen County residents received more than $1.7 million in tax refunds and credits thanks to the work of the Free Community Tax Service.

The Free Community Tax Service, which is a program of United Way of Monroe County and the Financial Stability Alliance for South Central Indiana, helped residents file nearly 2,400 federal tax returns, according to a United Way press release.

Low- and moderate-income residents also saved approximately $705,000 in tax preparation fees.

“The Free Community Tax Service continues to have a measurable impact on local individuals and families, particularly those who are struggling to make ends meet,” Barry Lessow, United Way executive director, said in the release.

Community partners Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, AARP Tax Counseling for the Elderly and 130 IRS-certified volunteers also assisted tax filers.

Community volunteers completed 1,052 tax returns at the six VITA sites. MyFreeTaxes.com, a free online filing system, helped 497 taxpayers to file their taxes from home. Monroe County Public Library filed 398 returns and Twin Lakes Recreation Center filed 435 returns through partnerships with the AARP Tax Counseling for the Elderly.

The Free Community Tax Service also had a team of bilingual IRS-certified tax preparers available to assist Spanish speakers. The City of Bloomington Community and Family Resources Department, El Centro Communal Latino and the IU La Casa/Cultural Center were partners in the effort.

“We’re very appreciative of our local partners and volunteers. Demand for this valuable service continues to grow and we are already making plans that should increase capacity and service for 2018,” Amy Leyenbeck, United Way community initiatives director, said in the release.

The Free Community Tax Service was made possible through grants from the IRS, AARP’s Tax Counseling for the Elderly and German American.

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