Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 5:42 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 18, 2022 at 7:10 AM CST
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – Tax season officially begins next week. As people prepare to file their taxes, there’s a free tax service here in the Mid-South helping low to moderate-income households.
The United Way of the Mid-South is partnered with the IRS for its free tax prep program. Households with an annual income of $58,000 or less qualify for the program.
This initiative has three goals:
- Provide a safe and free alternative to paid predatory tax preparation services through VITA
- Promote awareness of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
- Promote financial literacy and savings.
“Last tax season I think it was like $14 million in returns that were done,” said Echols. “So that’s money back into our community that can be utilized. As well as last year, we save taxpayers over $3 million in tax preparation fees because again, this is totally free.”
The program manager with the free tax program says some people pay $200 to $500 to prepare their taxes. Each year they’ve seen more and more people reach out for these services. Last year United Way helped more than 11,000 Mid-Southerners but says there are hundreds of thousands more that are eligible in our area.
“That only scratches the surface when you think about how many people, based on some IRS records there are about 400,000 people in Shelby County and surrounding areas that qualify to have their taxes done through this program,” said Andra Echols, Free Tax Prep Program Manager.
Echols says they have two locations. One at Southland Mall and the other is at the Frayser Community Development Corporation (CDC).
All you need to do is email the Mid-South United Way at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 211 and they will find a site in the zip code closest to you. The sites will be open until April 14.
If you’re interested in participating, they’re still looking for volunteers. Echols says volunteers usually do four hours a day a couple of days a week and they’re welcome to do more.