2012 Free Tax Prep Program Results
Wednesday May 30th, 2012
The 2012 Free Tax Preparation Program proved to be the most successful year to date, with 1,407 tax returns prepared and filed on behalf of Elgin area individuals and families. The program is provided by the Center for Economic Progress (CEP) and is sponsored locally by the Grand Victoria Foundation and the United Way of Elgin.
During the 2012 tax season 1,330 current year and 77 prior year returns were completed resulting in over 2.6 million dollars in state and federal refunds. In comparison, 2010 returns resulted in 2.1 million dollars and 2009 returns resulted in 1.9 million dollars. The average federal refund was $2,056. Free preparation saved families over $265,000 in tax preparation fees that they would have been charged elsewhere.
The program begins each October when volunteers can register to receive the free training. Once completed, they are a certified tax preparer and can assist others with tax preparation. The Center asks that volunteers commit to 20 hours during tax season, which runs from the end of January through mid-April. This year we had 73 volunteers, both experienced and newly trained. Volunteers spent over 2,300 hours helping families prepare their tax returns.
The Free Tax Preparation Program relies on volunteers, trained by the Center for Economic Progress, to prepare tax returns for local families who make less than $50,000/year and individuals who make less than $25,000/year. The average adjusted gross income for 2011 filers was $17,012.95. In addition to getting help with their taxes, many families took advantage of having their refunds direct-deposited into a bank account, promoting savings and fiscal responsibility. The tax preparation program also helps keep Elgin families away from refund loan programs, which often end up costing families more in interest than the original loan itself.
The CEP hopes to expand the program in Elgin for the 2013 tax season, as some seeking assistance were turned away this year due to capacity. Watch the United Way of Elgin’s website this fall for information on how to register to volunteer for the 2013 tax season.