Forsyth Free Tax, a program of Experiment in Self-Reliance (ESR), wrapped up another season of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program in which qualified volunteers prepare taxes for individuals and families with low- to moderate incomes.
Forsyth Free Tax offers free tax preparation for individuals and families making less than $54,000. Online tax services are also available at www.myfreetaxes.com to individuals and families making less than $66,000 who want to self-prepare their taxes.
This past tax season, 120 volunteers prepared over 4,300 tax returns through Forsyth Free Tax – a 25% increase from last season. Over 1,400 qualified for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the largest anti-poverty program in the nation, lifting millions of people out of poverty each year across the nation. Through Forsyth Free Tax alone, EITC refunds totaled over $2,141,000. Program refund total exceeded $5,899,000.
“We’re very pleased with this season’s results and are making strides to reach many more eligible taxpayers,” says Shirley Abdullah, Forsyth Free Tax Program Manager. “Our volunteers are committed to not only saving people money but also to educating our clients on how to understand their particular tax situations.”
Ten community sites are available throughout Forsyth County to provide the free tax preparation services during tax season. In the off season, ESR serves as an appointment-only tax site.
“Even though we finished the season with a ‘tax blitz’ on April 17th, our office here at ESR is still processing tax returns by appointment. We are helping people who are late filing for 2017 as well as those people who have prior year returns to file,” says Abdullah. “We also process amended returns and assist with IRS and NCDOR issues.”
In addition to free tax preparation, the program offers Asset Building Counseling, and linkages to asset-building programs such as ESR’s Individual Development Account program, Financial Literacy Counseling, etc. Tax preparers are educated on tax credits. EITC and VITA are vital asset building tools that help low-to moderate income people build wealth.
For more information on Forsyth Free Tax and tax volunteer opportunities, call 336-722-9400 or visit www.eisr.org.