Personal Finance Center Awarded $50,000 Grant to Assist with Free Tax Preparation
Our partnership agency, Personal Finance Center (PFC) at Mulberry has been awarded an IRS grant of $50,000 to help expand the free tax preparation services in Polk County. These services help low to moderate income taxpayers (generally less than $70k/year) file their taxes in a timely manner without the fees and risks of predatory practices. Offering this service allows volunteers the opportunity to share about the other financial literacy programs that they offer. They also strongly encourage individuals to deposit their refund into a savings account and start saving towards long term retirement goals.
The UWCF Family Stability Steering team celebrates this a huge win for Personal Finance Center and their partners. This grant will allow the team to participate in more events, recruit more volunteers, and potentially increase the number of tax preparation sites, thus expanding our reach and opening opportunities to empower individuals and families through financial stability.
“When PFC and our UWCF Partners talk with the individuals during the tax preparation process, we have a chance to tell them about how we can help with credit restoration, getting out of debt, building a savings account and the free financial classes that we have available. It opens us up to a whole demographic that wouldn’t typically know about us,” says Suzanne Howe, Financial Stability Coach.
The grant helps pay for costs associated with recruiting volunteers, IRS training, equipment, and advertising. “We’ll be able to advertise on buses and billboards now to help get the word out,” states Tarrel Davis, Executive Director for the Personal Finance Center. They currently partner with the Polk county libraries and other nonprofits to bring this service to more locations around the county. Volunteers go through IRS, ethics, conduct and software training to provide individuals with the same level of service as tax preparation companies. The added benefit of using UWCF’s free tax preparation services goes beyond free tax filing, by assisting individuals and families in how they can make the most of their return and savings from utilizing free tax preparation.
Tarrel Davis expressed, “A lot of seniors that live on social security don’t file income tax returns, but they are a great way to protect their identity with the IRS and help prevent identity theft.” Providing this free service to them is one way that they can make sure to not fall into a financial nightmare.
Do you need your taxes filed?
Around 90 percent of tax forms are filed electronically, allowing individuals to have their refund in 7-10 days. The volunteers are equipped to help calculate child tax credits and other credits that may be confusing or difficult to determine. More info > https://www.financepolk.com/taxprep
Would you like to be a volunteer?
We love our volunteers! We have two roles: preparer and greeter. Volunteers do not need previous tax experience. Training is scheduled in December and tax season is the last week of January through the second week of April. We try to place you at your first choice of locations and most volunteers commit one day (about five hours) a week. To volunteer, please call Suzanne at 863.425.1523 x101.
Congratulations to the Personal Finance Center on this grant! We’re excited for the opportunities that this opens up and are thankful for all that you do to improve financial stability in our community!