Helping Families During Tax Season
For children to be successful, their families must be strong, and financial stability is an important part of that. Yet many families in our community struggle to make ends meet and may need some extra support. That's why Metro United Way helps families strengthen their financial stability by increasing access to benefits and building financial assets.
In 2001, Metro United Way joined with the Annie E. Casey Foundation and several local partners to launch the Louisville Asset Building Coalition (LABC) to help hard working families capitalize on the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and other tax credits they are eligible for. LABC works with the IRS and a program called Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) to provide free income tax preparation for families with household incomes up to $55,000.
Last year, a married couple with two young children sought the services of LABC because their income had dropped substantially due to a work related injury. With the help of their well-trained volunteer tax preparer, they received the EITC and the Child Tax Credit also, resulting in a refund of several thousand dollars when they had expected to owe taxes. In addition, the volunteer preparer was helped them retain more of their income throughout the year to help meet their monthly expenses by adjusting their withholdings.
Now in its 15th year, LABC has:
- Served over 88,000 tax filers with the help of hundreds of volunteers
- Helped return $127.9 million in tax refunds, $50 million in the form of the EITC
- Provided these services free of charge, saving filers an estimated $14.9 million
- Assisted over 10,000 filers in the last year alone, resulting in $16.3 million in refunds
- Connected filers to bank accounts and other services to help them build financial assets
This year, LABC is hard at work again serving filers at a dozen locations throughout the Louisville area. For a list of specific tax locations, call Metro United Way's 2-1-1 or visit www.labcservices.org and click on the Free Local Tax Assistance tab. Outside of Jefferson County, partners like HJW Career and Financial Literacy Institute (Shelby and Oldham) also provide free tax services, as well as other organizations serving Southern Indiana, all of which are accessible by calling 2-1-1.
Please keep in mind that there are also free software packages available to income-eligible filers who want to prepare their returns themselves through the resources listed above. In addition, if a taxpayer was eligible to claim tax credits in prior years but failed to do so, a VITA volunteer help them file a return going back three years, but the ability to claim unused credits from tax year 2012 ends on April 15.