Free income tax preparation services for Hardin and Grayson County’s working low-to-moderate income families now available.
United Way of Central Kentucky has partnered with the Green Rivers Assets Building Coalition, Helping Hand of Hope, and the Grayson County Alliance to offer a nationally recognized program—Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, also known as VITA.
Residents who made up to $54,000 in 2016 are eligible to have their taxes prepared for free at Helping Hand of Hope and at the Grayson County Alliance in Leitchfield.
Beginning in late January, local IRS certified volunteers were available to assist local residents in completing their taxes while determining if they qualify for credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC), which can result in thousands of dollars in refunds.
The EITC and CTC are among the nation’s most effective anti-poverty tools for working families. Only people who are employed are eligible for the EITC and CTC, which in 2016 allowed 476,000 working parents and 38,000 military and veteran families in Kentucky to keep more of what they earn.
Last year, at the Helping Hand of Hope tax site, over 130 individuals received free tax preparation services with the help of seven volunteers, which resulted in over $200,000 refunded back to those families.
“This is money that is being fueled back into our local economy. Families can use these refunds to pay for work supports like a down payment on a more reliable car, or stocking their pantries to feed their children,” said Megan Stith, President and CEO of United Way of Central Kentucky. “This year, volunteers will also provide helpful resources to clients, such as information about 2-1-1 and how to develop a plan for saving their tax refunds.”
2-1-1 is a three-digit phone number that provides information about health and human services free of charge, 24 hours a day, and in multiple languages. Trained specialists provide confidential referrals to callers using a centralized listing of local services that may be available to them. United Way of Central Kentucky just recently launched this initiative.
“Helping Hand of Hope partnered with United Way of Central Kentucky and opened its doors for the VITA program last year to assist families in Hardin County. Our expectations were far exceeded, and we expect this year to be even better. We have wonderful volunteers ready to help these families with their tax preparation needs,” said Hardin County VITA site coordinator and First Citizen’s Bank Radcliff Branch Administrator Kimberly Burns.
Leitchfield Tax site co-coordinators, Linda Gentry and Judy Bullock, echo those sentiments and said this service can save families as much as $200 in tax preparation and filing fees, which can be used to pay household expenses they are often struggling to meet.
IRS research indicates as many as 15 percent to 20 percent of families fail to receive the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) because they fail to file a tax return. The average EITC refund is nearly $2,000.
The VITA site will electronically file the tax returns, which will enable clients to get their refunds sooner. There will also be VITA sites in Breckinridge and Meade counties.
For tax filers who made up to $64,000 during the 2016 tax year in any county who prefer to prepare their own taxes, United Way provides free online filing and consultation services at www.MyFreeTaxes.com.
VITA Site Program Schedule:
Hardin County: Helping Hand of Hope, 6796 S. Wilson Rd., Elizabethtown, KY. Hours of operation: Tuesdays and Thursdays 5:30-7:30 p.m. EST, alternating Saturdays 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Start date: Jan. 31. Call (270) 769-3092 for more information. *Must be Hardin County resident.
Grayson County: Grayson County Alliance, 2203 Brandenburg Rd., Leitchfield, KY. Hours of operation: Mondays 1:00-6:00 p.m. CST. Start date: Jan. 23. Call (270) 259-4000 for more information.
Breckinridge County: Breckinridge County Adult Education Center, 108 East Third St., Hardinsburg, KY. Hours of operation: Friday 1:00-4:00 p.m. CST. Start date: Feb. 3. Call Tony Anthony at (270) 617-8032 for more information.
Meade County: Muldraugh City Hall, 202 Wendell Street, Muldraugh, KY. Hours of operation: Mondays and Tuesdays 6:00-8:00 p.m. EST, Saturdays 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Start date: Jan. 28. Call Dan Molnar at (270) 998-9006 for more information.
To learn about how to volunteer at a VITA site, contact Alyssa Milliner at [email protected] For more information about United Way of Central Kentucky, visit unitedwayck.org or call (270) 737-6608.