Kentucky Asset Initiative Conducts EITC Outreach at Tax Preparation Sites
The Kentucky Asset Success Initiative (KASI), which is led by the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association (KDVA), operates free tax preparation sites in order to help eligible families apply for the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). During the 2009 tax season, the KASI tax preparation sites helped 8,478 working families claim tax refunds of almost $8.8 million, generating an estimated $18.2 million in economic activity in their communities.
Tax preparation sites are staffed by volunteers who are trained and certified by the IRS to help participants complete “all but the most complicated tax returns”, according to the KASI 2009 Annual Report. While commercial tax preparers usually charge a basic fee with add-ons for completing additional forms such as the EITC, the child tax credit, and the child/dependent care credit, the KASI tax sites are free of charge.
To expedite the refund process, KASI files tax returns electronically. As such, participating families receive their refunds quickly and are not tempted by refund-anticipation loans. The IRS estimates that one third of taxpayers claiming the EITC file for such loans. These families pay an average of $270 for doing so. Through avoiding refund anticipation loans and tax preparation fees, KASI estimates they saved a total of more than $2 million for those they served.
Families that make use of KASI’s tax preparation sites are also linked to other services from which they might benefit, including KDVA’s individual development account program.
This article originally ran in the IDAresources.org Update Newsletter on 05/28/09 and is available for archival purposes.