Free tax preparation offered to Huntsville area working families | Families
Huntsville, AL - Impact Alabama Founder/President Stephen Black and United Way of Madison County President and CEO Steve Kirkpatrick will hold a joint press conference on Thursday, January 19, at 10:00am announcing that Impact Alabama’s annual free tax preparation services for working families will be available at the United Way of Madison County. Beginning on January 21st, the nonprofit’s SaveFirst initiative will provide free income tax preparation services to working families making less than $50,000/year with kids in the home or $20,000/year without kids in the home.
This year, families can also enter the SaveNow WinLater Sweepstakes for a chance to win a $5,000 cash Grand Prize Jackpot by investing in savings bonds. For every $50 eligible families invest in a federal savings bond, they will earn a chance to win a $5,000 grand prize jackpot at the end of tax season as well as two smaller monthly prizes awarded in February and March.
The tax preparation service is aimed at assisting families eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC is the federal government's largest and most successful antipoverty program for low-income, working families. However, each year, about 75% of Huntsville’s EITC recipients pay an average of $200 each simply to access this benefit. They also often take out predatory refund anticipation loans ("rapid refunds") on their expected refund at annual percentage rates of up to 800%, further eroding the benefits of the EITC.
SaveNow WinLater, a nationally unique prize-linked savings opportunity, is a partnership with Doorways to Dreams (D2D), headed by Harvard University economist Peter Tufano. D2D’s similar prize-linked savings initiative based in Michigan, Save to Win, garnered incredible success in 2009 after only eleven months; over 11,500 Michigan residents opened accounts and saved $8.5 million.
Impact Alabama's SaveFirst initiative is in its sixth year of operation. Last year, over 450 trained students from more than ten campuses prepared tax returns for more than 4,300 families in cities statewide. In just six weeks, our statewide campus collaboration helped these working families secure more than $8.2 million in tax refunds, saving them over $1.3 million in commercial tax preparation fees.
Alabama residents interested in participating in SaveNow WinLater or in scheduling a free tax preparation appointment should call 1-888-99-TAX-AL.
Information from Impact Alabama news release.