As the tax season kicks off and tax payers are looking to get the most out of their refund, United Way of Greater Houston and Neighborhood Centers Inc. are reminding Houstonians to take advantage of their quality, free tax preparation services. IRS-certified preparers assist families and individuals earning up to $58,000, helping them retain every dollar of their refund and saving the average $200 cost of professional tax preparation services.
While the word “free” is used by many paid preparers, clients are often subject to staggering interest rates on predatory loans offered as “refund advances.” With the recent announcement by the IRS that taxpayers claiming the Earned Income and Additional Child Tax Credits will have their refund delayed, there is an increased risk of losing hard-earned money to these refund advances.
Thanks to the support of United Way of Greater Houston and, families utilizing this free tax preparation service avoid paying these high fees and can access United Way SAVE, a matched savings account program that enables them to set aside part or all of their tax refund right away and receive a 25% match.
“Our free tax preparation services are intended to increase family financial stability and enable hardworking families to use their entire tax refund for important things like paying for basic needs, covering their children’s school expenses or saving for a rainy day,” said Jose Perez, director of Neighborhood Centers Program.
In addition to helping clients file taxes for the 2016 year, Neighborhood Centers can prepare prior returns and amendments back to the 2011 tax year for free. Since 2009, over 251,000 tax returns have been prepared with more than $339 million returned to the Houston community.
Important documents that taxpayers must bring include:
- Photo ID, Social Security cards or ITIN letters for everyone on the tax return
- Proof of income (W2, 1099, etc.)
- 1095 form: Health coverage statement
- Check with bank account and routing number for direct deposit of your refund
For more information on location and hours, visit www.freetaxcenters.org or call the 2-1-1 Texas/United Way HELPLINE.
About United Way of Greater Houston
For more than 90 years, United Way of Greater Houston has been a leader and trusted partner in improving lives, tackling key community social issues and making a lasting difference. United Way of Greater Houston, last year alone, touched the lives of more than 2 million of our neighbors in the Bay Area and in Fort Bend, Harris, Montgomery and Waller counties. United Way focuses on strengthening our community by developing children and youth to their full potential, creating strong families and safe neighborhoods, sustaining senior independence and rebuilding people’s lives in times of crisis. The United Way of Greater Houston is the best way to make the biggest difference in our community, changing Houston for good. For more information, please visit, www.unitedwayhouston.org.
About Neighborhood Centers
Neighborhood Centers Inc. brings resources, education and connection to nearly 600,000 people throughout Texas each year. For more than a century, Neighborhood Centers has offered innovative solutions to help low-income families in emerging neighborhoods get a foothold in the region’s economy. The organization works with residents in more than 70 service locations to help them discover the strengths and skills necessary to become productive, prosperous and self-sufficient. Building on the strengths of individuals and communities, Neighborhood Centers is transforming them. FOR GOOD. Neighborhood Centers Inc. is a United Way Agency. For more information, visit www.neighborhood-centers.orgOn Thursday, February 2, 2017 The John P. McGovern Museum of Health and Medical Science will host a free educational beer science event to celebrate the Big Game with local and out of town fans. The public event, Beer Science and Body Art, will include a look at the health benefits of beer and its impact on the course of history, as well as the chance to meet local brewers and sample craft beer from local breweries: Southern Star Brewing Company, No Label Brewing Company, and Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company.