Raleigh, North Carolina — January 23, 2012 — The Wake County Free Tax Preparation Program is a public service of the Wake EITC Coalition and is free of charge to qualifying individuals with an income less than $50,000.00/year or who are over 62 years old (find free tax preparation sites in your area here). During the 2011 tax season, the program served thousands of Wake County community members who took part in the 2011 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. Program sponsors for this year included: the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the City of Raleigh, the United Way of the Greater Triangle, Debtors Unite, EITC Carolinas Initiative at MDC, Inc., and Republic Bank. It is in part to their unwavering support that the Coalition can offer the Free Tax Preparation Service.
With fifteen sites countywide, the Coalition as a whole completed a total of 5,444 tax returns this season for the 2010 fiscal year. Of these, $1.5million were Earned Income Tax Credits claimed by qualifying individuals. According to the IRS, “the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a tax credit for certain people who work and have low wages.1”
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) totals included seven sites countrywide and twenty-three volunteers preparing and filing $2.1million in total refunds and $836,000.00 in EITC. An average of 1,480 tax returns were completed, increasing the previous years’ levels by 50%. By using the VITA sites during the 2011 tax season, a total of 461 families who had who had obtained a refund anticipation loan or who had paid to have their taxed prepared during the 2010 tax season, saved an average of at least $11,000.00 and $45,279.00, respectively. VITA sites serve community members who are of low income, speak a first language other than English and/or who are disabled.
The Wake EITC Coalition is a “collaboration between community partners, volunteers and government agencies organized to ease the burden of paying taxes, improve accuracy of tax returns and help taxpayers find community resources.2” The Coalition was formed in 2007 and receives training and support from the EITC Carolinas Initiative, as well as from local IRS partners and common goal organizations. It is clear that it continues to grow with each passing year.