As the deadline for filing taxes nears, area nonprofit tax experts are reminding low and moderate income families there is free help available.
Accountability Minnesota offers free tax clinics at 12 locations in the Twin Cites on Saturday mornings and Tuesday and Thursday evenings. More than 550 volunteers are available to help people, on a first-come, first-served basis, and are trained to identify the tax incentives and benefits available, said Executive Director Tracy Fischman.
"Tax time can be a scary time for alot of people. And our services help maximize all of the tax refunds that people have earned," Fischman. "Last year our services helped people return over $22 million by way of tax refunds to Twin Cities' communities."
She said tax season is also a good time to think about savings, since refunds may provide people with more cash than they have on hand at any other time of the year.
Tax filers are also reminded to check their eligibility for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit.
The credit is a tax refund that low and moderate income families can claim based on their income and number of dependents.
The credit is one of the nation's best anti-poverty tools, Fischman said.
"It is estimated that still approximately 20 to 25 percent of people at any given time who are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit don't know it," Fischman said. "It might be because their financial circumstances have changed. And in this economic recession when a lot of people have either lost jobs or they have become underemployed, they may for the first time be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit."
Accountability Minnesota offers free tax clinics at 12 locations in the Twin Cites on Saturday mornings and Tuesday and Thursday evenings.