Monthly income doesn’t cover the cost of everyday living expenses for many Franklin County families.
This means covering additional expenses – like paying to have a tax return prepared, even though it could generate more income later – is impossible, Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services Director Joy Bivens said.
To help these families, Franklin County is partnering with the United Way of Central Ohio to help fund Tax Time so some residents get their taxes prepared for free. Tax Time is a volunteer program that brings together United Way, AARP, the Ohio Benefits Bank and other local partners.
This year, the Franklin County Commissioners agreed to fund $84,438 to the program through a contract with FCDJFS.
“Since its inception, Tax Time has helped more than 100,000 people from central Ohio claim more than $112 million in refunds,” Franklin County Commissioner President Kevin Boyce said.
The commissioners realize tax refunds can help families bridge a financial gap that too many families teeter on month after month.
“We know this helps families move onto a path of self-sustainability and financial independence. Helping families become more financially stable is a goal we all share because, ultimately that benefits us all,” said Franklin County Commissioner Marilyn Brown.
The program offers more than 20 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program locations in Franklin County where residents can have their taxes prepared for free. Anyone who earns less than $65,000 can schedule a free appointment by calling 2-1-1 or 614-221-2255. There are also an additional 20 sites with AARP or OBB across Franklin County.
“This program provides a tremendous return on our investment. A study of the program showed every dollar used by Tax Time generates a $34-benefit to the Central Ohio economy. So this is a way we can help low- and moderate-income families and local businesses at the same time,” Franklin County Commissioner John O’Grady said.
FCDJFS is a county, state and federal-supported agency responsible for basic financial, medical and social service programs. These programs are made available to ensure that no one is forced to go without the basic essentials of food, clothing, shelter, medical care and necessary life sustaining services because of a lack of resources.