Central Texas Center for Economic Opportunity has prepared 1,029 tax returns, helping individuals or families claim more than $2 million in gross refunds.
Last year, staff and volunteers at the Center for Economic Opportunity prepared 842 claims with
refunds valued at more than $1.5 million.
"Our free tax preparation is a valuable community service that plugs money back into the
community through families who receive a refund," said Jamie Jimenez, Program Director at the Center for Economic Opportunity.
"We attribute the increased traffic to increased awareness and word of mouth among clients, area non-profits, media and other community organizations who want to help families gain financial stability."
The free tax services provided by the Center for Economic Opportunity from January 23 to March 31 have also saved community members tax preparation fees of approximately $154,000.
Staff and volunteers help eligible community members claim elderly, education and dependent
credits, as well as the Earned Income Tax Credit, which accounts for more than $750,000 of the $2 million refund total. IRS officials have also praised the Center for Economic Opportunity for filing 66 returns for prior tax years.
"People in our community work hard, and want to provide for themselves and their families,"
Jimenez said. "Sometimes navigating that road can be challenging, confusing and complex - free tax preparation is one way the Center for Economic Opportunity helps families along the way to self-sufficiency. We want to thank everyone who has helped to spread the word."
Community members who have not filed a return may dial 2-1-1 to schedule an appointment or visit the tax site at 1102 North 3rd street in downtown Abilene.
Individuals should bring the following items to the tax preparation sites to maximize their return:
- Valid Photo ID (Driver's License, State ID or Student ID)
- Social Security Cards (all household members)
- All 2011 W-2, 1099 & 1098 forms
- Blank Check with routing number & account number
- Receipts for charitable gifts, medical expenses (including insurance), college expenses (including books), or child care expenses
The Center is part of a community initiative led by the United Way of Abilene in partnership with Dodge Jones Foundation to help promote financial stability and independence for area families.