COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – As tax season officially kicks off, hundreds of Central Ohioans are getting some help to maximize their refunds.
Super Saturday kicked off the region’s largest free tax clinic hosted by the United Way and the Columbus City Attorney’s Office. For nine years, the Tax Time Coalition has included a network of nonprofit, business and government entities working together to provide financial services for low to moderate income households.
Clarence Daniels and his mother were attending their second consecutive Tax Time event Saturday at Columbus Downtown High School. They were among dozens in line when the event started at 9:00 a.m., eager to cash in their tax refunds.
“Sooner I’m in, I’m out and I’m spending all of that nice cash,” Daniels joked.
By appointment, Daniels and others could file their taxes with volunteers and talk to banks, credit unions, and other community financial resources.
“I don’t understand taxes, she doesn’t,” Daniels explained. “But there are definitely people here who do, are helpful and can always help me out.”
City Attorney Zach Klein joined the kickoff event Saturday. The prosecutor explained maximizing a family’s tax return can make the difference between living above and below the poverty line.
“We see far too often in our courthouse the intersection of poverty and the criminal justice system,” Klein said. “[A tax refund] allows for families to take care of themselves, to pay that extra bill… perhaps it’s a childcare expense, a healthcare expense.”
Klein mentioned the positive effect on the local economy, with refunds often spent locally. He’s also urging families to take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The federal benefit can give families extra refund money based on income level and number of children.
“The IRS has this in the tax code. So this isn’t something that’s make-believe. It’s a real federal law that allows people to realize cash money into their pockets,” Klein said.
The Tax Time free tax prep is available after Super Saturday by appointment at sites across Franklin County. Call 211 to find the closest location and find out if you qualify for assistance.
The income cap for free assistance in 2020 is $56,000.
Find more resources here.