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The Power of Empowerment

“If anyone in town knows a tax answer, it’s these folks.” A high compliment coming from Jacob, the head of one of nearly 4,000 households in Olmsted and Dodge Counties that received free tax preparation assistance last year through a partnership between the United Way of Olmsted County and The AARP Foundation. This annual program aims to serve low- to moderate-income taxpayers by matching them with an IRS-certified tax preparer to help them file their income taxes and access the full refunds and credits they’ve earned.

Nearly 50% of taxpayers served in 2018 earned less than $20,000 annually. Free tax preparation services help low-income families access benefits like the Earned Income Tax Credit, one of the nation’s largest and most effective anti-poverty programs. Helping connect our community members to the tax refunds they have earned is just one of the ways United Way of Olmsted County unites people and resources to improve lives as we fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in our community.

The dedicated volunteers who schedule tax appointments, greet clients at tax sites, and prepare tax returns enjoy the experience of helping others. According to our volunteer Angela, “I find value in assisting families that may otherwise be missing an opportunity to increase their annual incomes…What really excites me is when someone returns the following year and you can see improvement in their ability to file their returns.”

Tax appointments are held in 7 locations throughout Olmsted and Dodge Counties and are available by appointment by calling 507-287-1958. For those who do not need additional help preparing their taxes on site, myfreetaxes.com is another resource supported by United Way. Tax payers who regularly use a computer and the internet and earned up to $66,000 in 2018 are eligible to use the free software. For additional assistance, there are volunteers who host myfreetaxes.com help at the Rochester Public Library each Wednesday from 5-8 PM beginning February 1.

For more information on our tax program, see our website: https://www.uwolmsted.org/taxhelp.

 

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