About Us

Tax Time is a network of nonprofit, business, and government organizations that work to provide free tax assistance services and to connect people to financial education and savings opportunities. The Coalition’s mission is to provide the central Ohio community with information about, and access to, free, high-quality tax assistance services and financial resources that enable low and moderate-income households achieve financial stability.  

Tax Time is managed by the United Way of Central Ohio.  Lead partners that provide free tax prep services include: 

AARP

The Ohio Benefit Bank (OBB)

United Way of Central Ohio  (UWCO)

Manages 17 Tax Counseling for the Elderly Sites (TCE) in partnership with the IRS in Franklin County.  Sites are primarily open during the weekday and staffed by retired volunteers who are certified at the IRS advanced level.

The OBB is an Internet-based tool that helps those with incomes under $60,000 file their federal and state taxes for free. Users can sit down with a trained OBB counselor at one of 11 sites in Franklin County to work through their return or can file on their own at www.ohiobenefits.org.  The OBB can also be used to check eligibility and apply for programs such as food assistance, the home energy assistance program (HEAP), health coverage, prescription assistance and child care subsidies.

UWCO manages 19 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) in partnership with the IRS sites in Franklin County.  Sites are primarily open in the evenings and on weekends to serve low and moderate income working families.  VITA sites are staffed by volunteers who are certified at the IRS intermediate or advanced level.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

For many in our community surviving on low and moderate incomes, tax time is a critically important financial moment. A number of refundable tax credits benefit low income individuals, particularly those who are parents or are pursuing a higher education degree.  These credits include: child tax credits; the retirement credit; education credits such as the American Opportunity tax credit and the Lifetime Learning tax credit; and, perhaps most importantly, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC is a refundable credit designed to bridge the gap between what working families and individuals earn and what is needed to survive. Depending on income level, marital status and number of dependent children, taxpayers earning up to $51,000 in calendar year 2012 could claim the EITC and receive a refund of up to $5,891 from this credit alone.  These credits combine to form a refund that can account for up to 40% of a family’s annual income.

The majority of low to moderate income taxpayers in central Ohio currently use a paid tax preparer to file their tax returns. Paid preparers in this region charge an average of $250 for tax preparation services and high-cost refund anticipation loans or checks. Many of these services increase their costs with each credit for which the taxpayer is eligible.

 

OUR RESULTS

2013 was a record-breaking year for Tax Time's free tax preparation services.  More than 300 volunteers helped 14,530 hardworking low- and middle-income households -- that's a 12% increase over 2012! 

These households claimed more than $14.8 million in tax refunds and saved approximately $3.6 million in tax preparation fees and loans.

Thank you to our sponsors