Gary to offer free tax preparation assistance

2013-01-08T18:15:00Z 2013-01-08T21:32:28Z Gary to offer free tax preparation assistanceLu Ann Franklin Times Correspondent
January 08, 2013 6:15 pm  • 

GARY | City residents can potentially receive millions of dollars in earned income tax credits this tax season thanks to a partnership between the city and other entities, Gary's mayor announced Tuesday.

Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson joined officials from the Urban League of Northwest Indiana, former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley's office, the University of Chicago and True Partners Consulting to announce the free tax preparation program for Gary residents.

Taxpayers who earned $51,000 or less in gross income during 2011 — and who have children — are entitled to as much as $5,891 in EITC and child credits.

Many don’t know they are eligible, and that format for filing for the credit is complicated, said Carol Brown, who is part of the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.

Freeman-Wilson said the service will help city residents.

“We see paid tax preparers do this at tremendous cost to our residents," Freeman-Wilson said. "Our city has a 42 percent poverty rate, and many paid tax preparers are taking advantage by cutting corners or providing only the bare necessities."

Myer Blank, of True Partners Consulting, said such a program has been successful in Chicago for the last 10 years because it brings information to the people who need it.

“We’ve been able to get $35 million to 20,000 Chicago residents,” he said.

The Urban League will provide tax preparers who are trained as part of the IRS certified Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, said Vanessa Allen, president and CEO of the league.

Taxes will be prepared from 9 a.m. to noon during two Saturdays — Feb. 9 and Feb. 16 — at the Genesis Convention Center. Services also will be offered at the Urban League office, 3101 Broadway in Gary, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays beginning Feb. 4. Appointments must be made by calling the Urban League office at (219) 980-2093.

All tax forms will be e-filed, which will speed up refunds, Blank said.

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