If you earned less than $60,000 last year, there’s a free tax program available to you.
Since 2007, the Erie Free Taxes program has demonstrated strength as a family and community economic development tool, and this year’s season is now open.
Through the IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, Erie Free Taxes provides free federal, state and local tax preparation service to residents of Erie County who make $60,000 a year or less. The United Way of Erie offers free drop off service, remote filing and online self-preparations options at multiple locations for your convenience.
“We work with Erie partners. Erie Community Foundation is a huge one, and the Erie Community Foundation’s satellites program also helps out so we can provide free tax preparation services,” said Marybelle Martin, Director of Erie Free Taxes.
“I come here every year because it’s free. You always get an appointment pretty quick, they do really well and I love it here,” said Debbie Slomski, tax filer.
The director of Erie Free Taxes said this year, a lot of tax credits that were in effect last year are no longer, resulting in smaller refunds.
The organization is continuing to assist families to provide eligible tax credits to put more money in their pockets for other needs.
“The average tax preparation fee average is about $273. So, for a number of people that could be a car payment or part of a rent payment or food or something like that. So, if we’re able to help them with that little bit of money savings wise, and if we’re able to get them a refund in the process, then we feel as though we’ve worked to strengthen our community,” Martin explained.
One filer said that this program has helped her tremendously and she hopes others will take advantage of it.
“The other day I found out my mailman’s mother comes here, and my neighbor said ‘where is this? Is it free?’ She never knew, now she does,” Slomski exclaimed.
Tax filing season ends April 15, but the IRS has extended this program to April 18.
People who want to take advantage of these tax filing services will need to call the scheduling site at 1-888-829-5680.