United Way launches Free Tax Preparation Campaign

United Way of Snohomish County will expand free tax preparation and electronic filing services, seeking to help more hard working individuals and families claim tax refunds and credits.

Certified volunteers prepared 1657 tax returns in 2010 at United Way tax preparation sites for a total of $2.9 million in refunds.  The nonprofit organization hopes to increase its reach by operating five preparation sites county-wide in 2011.

United Way free tax preparation and electronic filing sites open Jan. 25, 2011 at Cedar Valley Community School (Lynnwood), Frank Wagner Elementary (Monroe), Marysville Middle School (Marysville), North Middle School (Everett) and South Everett Foursquare (Everett). Trained and certified volunteers will be on hand to complete basic income tax returns through April 15. Electronic filing means any refunds an individual or family is owed come back much more quickly, usually within 10 business days. No appointment is necessary.

Free tax preparation services will be available:

  • Cedar Valley Community School (19200 56th Ave. W, Lynnwood):
    Jan 25-April 14 – Tuesdays and Thursdays (5pm-8pm) & Saturdays (10am-3pm)
  • Frank Wagner Elementary (115 Dickinson Rd, Monroe): Jan 25-April 14 – Tuesdays and Thursdays (5pm-8pm) & Saturdays (10am-3pm)
  • Marysville Middle School (4923 67th St NE, Marysville): Jan 25-April 13 – Tuesdays and Wednesdays (5pm-8pm) & Saturdays (10am-3pm)
  • North Middle School (2514 Rainier Ave., Everett)
    Jan 25-April 13 – Tuesdays and Wednesdays (5pm-8pm) & Saturdays (10am-3pm)
  • South Everett Foursquare (14 E Casino Road, Everett)
    Jan 25-April 15 – Tuesdays (2pm-7pm) & Wednesdays, Thursdays and  Fridays (9am-2pm)

“Although no one will be turned away because of income level, the primary purpose is to help low- and moderate-income working families claim federal tax credits they may not even know they qualify for,” said Deborah Squires, United Way spokesperson.

One such credit—the Earned Income Tax Credit—can be worth up to $5,666 cash back for eligible families with children. The Earned Income Tax credit has been credited with lifting more children out of poverty than any other federal program. Even individuals and families who don’t earn enough to have to file a claim may receive money back, but only if they file.

It is estimated that as much as $10 million in Earned Income Tax credits goes unclaimed each year in Snohomish County alone. Last year, 98 percent of families who received the credit spent it on items such as food, housing, utilities and health care.  That promises a huge potential to increase families’ ability to afford the basic needs for themselves, and positively impacts the local economy by of bringing federal dollars into the community.

Sponsors include: The Boeing Company; The Internal Revenue Service (IRS); Moss Adams LLP; Bank of America, the Wal-Mart Foundation, South Everett Foursquare and the Washington State Department of Commerce.

“Saving the fees and refund anticipation loan charges alone that a family may pay elsewhere can make a huge difference in putting money back into the pocket of those who need it most,” Squires said.

Tax clients need to bring:

  • A valid picture ID
  • W-2 forms and 1099s showing all income
  • Social Security cards(s) OR Individual Tax Payer Identification Numbers (ITIN) for you, your spouse, children and other dependents
  • Bank account information for a direct deposit or tax return—a copy of a valid check (a bank account is not needed to get a refund)

This campaign prepares basic and limited Schedule Cs. No rental income.  United Way has volunteers who speak a number of languages. Call 2-1-1 for more information or to find a site in Puget Sound nearer to you.

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