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Qualifying families can have tax returns prepared free

Free preparation of tax returns is available to families, who have children, and earn less than $52,000 annually and those families without children that earn less than $20,000 annually. (CONTRIBUTED)
Free preparation of tax returns is available to families, who have children, and earn less than $52,000 annually and those families without children that earn less than $20,000 annually. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON COUNTY – Working families can benefit from free tax preparation services, available from a partnership among Impact Alabama, United Way of Madison County and the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Families are eligible who have children in the home and earn less than $52,000 per year or do not have children and earn less than $20,000 per year. Interested individuals can call 1-844-44-TAX-AL to schedule a free appointment.

Daytime, evening and Saturday hours for tax preparation are available in Huntsville at the Optimist Recreation Center, 703 Oakwood Ave. NE and at the United Way office, 701 Andrew Jackson Way NE.

In addition, the free service is available in Decatur at Turner Surles Community Center, 702 Sycamore St. NW and in Florence at Weeden Elementary School, 400 Baldwin St.

The tax preparation service is intended to assist families who are eligible for Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This credit is the federal government’s largest and most successful antipoverty program for low-income, working families.

However, each year EITC recipients in Huntsville lose millions of dollars in commercial tax preparation fees to access this benefit.

Founded in 2005, Impact Alabama’s SaveFirst initiative has trained more than 570 students on 16 campuses to prepare tax returns for more than 8,200 families in cities statewide.

Its statewide campus collaboration helped these working families secure more than $14.9 million in tax refunds — a savings of $2.5 million in commercial tax preparation fees.

Impact Alabama, an AmeriCorps Program, is housed at the Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility at the University of Alabama.

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