United Way of Central Ohio helps low-income families file taxes in Ohio

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Tax time is officially here, and United Way of Central Ohio is once again providing free tax preparation services for moderate to low-income families.

“We train volunteer tax preparers actually to certify with the IRS to prepare tax returns for the public,” said Rachel Skwerer, UWCO Tax Time Program Manager.

Every tax season since 2006, United Way of Central Ohio has been helping Franklin County residents file returns with its free Tax Time program.

“Our services just look a little bit different this year, said Skwerer.

Due to the pandemic, organizers hope to still help thousands of people file virtually.

“Our online site: getyourrefund.org/uwco. You submit your documents by uploading them either on your smartphone or your computer and you’ll be connected with one of our tax preparers virtually,” said Skwerer.

If individuals or families earned $57,000 a year or less in 2020, they qualify for the free tax preparation service. United Way of Central Ohio understands filing taxes this year might be challenging for a lot of people due to job loss, stimulus money, or other conditions.

“Stimulus money. How do you get it? If you got the wrong amount, or if you didn’t get any at all, well, the best way to do that is file a tax return,” said Skwerer.

Tax Time volunteers can help people file a return regardless of having any earned income in 2020 or not.

“We can get your information to the IRS, that direct deposit information, your address, so that they can get the stimulus money that you haven’t received in your hands,” said Skwerer.

They can also help guide people through the changes in tax filing this year.

“There was some legislation passed to help folks out who’s income may have decreased in 2020 since 2019 because of the economic fall-out that we’ve experienced,” said Skwerer.

Organizers say they can also help protect against identity theft.

“If you’ve experienced tax-related identity theft, our preparers know how to file what’s called an identity theft affidavit, help you fill out a form to submit to the IRS,” said Skwerer.

According to United Way of Central Ohio, Tax Time has a 98 percent accuracy rate, and they are currently scheduling appointments up until April 15, the tax filing deadline.

“I think the community can benefit a lot from what we have to offer,” Skwerer added.

To participate in Tax Time, people should click here or call 211.

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