UPDATE: See WMC TV 5’s coverage of the event here.

City of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and United Way President and CEO Dr. Kenneth Robinson shared details of how the partnership between the Memphis Public Library’s 2-1-1 help and information call center and the United Way Free Tax Prep program can help local people receive free tax preparation and filing services. The Mayor and Dr. Robinson shared details during the meeting on Thursday, March 9th at the Benjamin L. Hooks Library and Information Center.

“We are in the march madness for tax season. It’s the second quarter, and we need to bring attention to this great program offered by United Way,” said Strickland.

The United Way Free Tax Prep program provides fast electronic tax preparation and filing for households with an income of $54,000 or less at absolutely no charge.

“The City of Memphis encourages everyone who meets the criteria to make an appointment for United Way Free Tax Prep by calling the Memphis Public Library and Information Center’s LINC 2-1-1 service to book an appointment,” said Strickland. “We want people to get their full refund so they can spend their money in the city and get what they need.”

“This is a precedent-setting partnership in Tennessee,” said Dr. Robinson. “Connecting people in need with tax credits for which they qualify can sometimes result in a family receiving a tax refund that is nearly 20 percent of their annual income. The program is very important to our Driving The Dream initiative.”

As part of the Driving The Dream initiative, United Way is taking a bold step and focus on supporting organizations who serve people who live in poverty. According to the IRS, millions of dollars in tax refunds and tax credits go unclaimed in Memphis and the Mid-South area every year.

One example of how using a tax credit can impact a tax refund is the Earned Income Tax Credit. A single parent of three making less than $47,955 or a married couple filing jointly making less than $53,505 with three or more children can realize a tax credit of $6,269.00. If a filer qualifies for additional tax credits, the potential refund can be even larger.

“In 2016, our Free Tax Prep program brought more than $12 million in refunds to 8,400 people Mid-South,” said Robinson.

United Way says it needs, even more, people to sign up and be trained as volunteers so it can grow the program for more Free Tax Prep locations.

United Way hosts three Free Tax Prep “super sites” at the Hickory Ridge Mall and Southland Mall, and has other sites across the region. Volunteers use IRS training and online modules to become certified tax preparers.

The LINC 2-1-1 call center is open to book Free Tax Prep program appointments Sundays 1-5 p.m., Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

(Photos by Kirstin Cheers, United Way Communications Specialist)