For many people, filing a completed tax return is a nearly impassible barrier to funds to which they are entitled by law. A process that merely vexes us, sometimes undoes them. That means that they are unable to take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit and other refunds that could help their finances.
The Gateway EITC Community Coalition is a partnership of dozens of local agencies, companies, and governments that offers free tax preparation services and education programs to low-income residents in the St. Louis region. Free is the important part, because 58 percent of low-to-moderate income families or working poor in this community pay an average of $267 for tax preparation, refund anticipation loans, electronic filing fees and check cashing fees. This results in an additional combined financial drain of more than $30 million for these local families.
Through past volunteer efforts, the Gateway EITC Community Coalition has according to the information United Way has sent me substantially increased the monetary impact to individuals and the community by helping to bring back nearly $1.55 million in refunds for the 2006 tax year and more than $4.35 million for the 2007 tax year.
To make the program work, Gateway EITC Community Coalition needs volunteers to help in late January through February 2009. There are plenty of different jobs for volunteers, but all of them greeter, clerk, and tax preparer must attend one certification training in order to help.
To find out more about the opportunities and the certification, please contact United Way at: 2-1-1 or 1-800-427-4626.