Local Community Group Helps Low- to Moderate-Income Families Keep 100% of Their Refund

Contact:  Stacy Opitz, Marketing + Communications Director
651-262-2162, stacy@prepareandprosper.org

[Twin Cities, MN] – January 12, 2017 — It is more important than ever to prepare accurate income tax returns during the 2017 tax season. A new law requires the IRS to delay issuing federal refunds for all taxpayers claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until February 15. The law has no exceptions and is designed to make it easier for the IRS to find and stop fraud.

Prepare + Prosper (P+P) is one of more than 12,000 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs across the country that the IRS relies on to help people file their taxes every year, completely free of charge. In 2016 alone at P+P, more than 550 IRS-certified volunteers helped more than 13,000 individuals in the Twin Cities qualify for and keep 100% of their refunds—over $25.3 million—without worrying about hidden fees or unexpected charges.

On average, many of P+P’s customers receive over thirty percent of their annual income in tax refunds, making their tax returns vital to their financial lives.

“For more than 45 years, Prepare + Prosper has helped individuals and families get their maximum refund that they use on necessities, like paying bills, paying down debt, making new purchases, and saving,” said Tracy Fischman, executive director at P+P. “We are dedicated to helping as many community members as we can and encourage taxpayers to be wary of preparers promising faster refunds that will likely cost them in the end.”

Who can get free tax prep? Based on Census data, more than 140,000 households in the St. Paul and Minneapolis may qualify for free tax preparation services. Individuals who made less than $35,000 or families with an annual income of $55,000 or less in 2016 may be eligible to have their taxes prepared and e-filed for free by P+P.

High Quality Service. The volunteers and staff tax preparers at P+P’s free tax preparation sites go through at least 15 hours of training and are certified by the IRS. Customers receive high-quality, professional service by trained volunteers who are equipped to identify tax refund opportunities. P+P’s goal is to help its customers get their maximum refund and claim all the credits that you have earned. During the 2015 filing season alone, over 90,000 volunteers nationwide helped prepare over 3.7 million returns at thousands of free tax sites like P+P’s.

About Prepare + Prosper   Prepare + Prosper is a nonprofit focused on financial capability for low-income households. It provides free tax preparation and financial services and products; builds the capacity of other organizations providing these services; and works to advance policies and practices that directly benefit the people it serves. In 2016, 575 volunteers prepared taxes for 13,461 taxpayers who received $25.3 million in refunds; 1,231 of those taxpayers committed to saving $1.9 million of their refunds.