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Free Tax Preparation Services Offered to Hancock County Residents

With tax season beginning in late January, many Hancock County residents are looking for ways to get the highest return possible without having to pay a high fee. For the ninth year in a row, United Way of Hancock County is partnering with 50 North, Findlay-Hancock County Public Library, Millstream Career Center, Ohio Benefit Bank (OBB), Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Hancock Hardin Wyandot Putnam Community Action Commission (HHWP CAC) to offer free tax preparation services on various dates at locations throughout the community. The taxes are filed electronically by trained tax counselors and VITA volunteers.

Free tax preparation services are for individuals who made up to $65,000 and families who made up to $95,000 in 2016.

To schedule an appointment at the Findlay-Hancock County Library or Millstream Career Center, callers should dial 2-1-1, or with an out of area cell phone number dial 1-800-650-HELP (4357). 50 North will be providing tax preparation services for those age 60 and over. For appointments at that location call 419-423-8496.

Callers will be asked a series of questions and will be informed of the items needed at the tax preparation appointment. The appointments will also be scheduled at the location that is most convenient.

One of the main goals of the free tax preparation program is to ensure that tax filers find out if they qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Many Ohioans eligible for the EITC do not claim it. Those unclaimed EITC funds mean that local communities miss out on millions of dollars that would have otherwise generated economic activity and growth. Also, clients using this free tax preparation service can maximize their return without having to pay a high fee to have their taxes completed.

Individuals interested in being trained to become an OBB volunteer tax counselor should visit http://support.ohiobenefits.org/taxes.html#training  for online training. Upon completion of the training, volunteers can contact Pam Zimmerly at the HHWP CAC to be scheduled to volunteer. She can be reached at pzimmerly@hhwpcac.com or by calling 419-423-3755 extension 206. Persons who complete the training and have access to a computer can also assist others on their own or through other organizations such as churches or schools. Additionally, trained counselors can assist family and friends.

Taxes can also be filed electronically at http://unitedway.org/myfreetaxes. The user must sign up for an account. This service is safe, secure and easy.

Hancock Saves announces partnership to bring SaveYourRefund campaign to Hancock County

For those who save a portion of their income tax returns, there is a program providing extra motivation.

In the 2017 tax season, the SaveYourRefund program will once again offer tax filers in Hancock County and across the country the chance to win cash prizes for saving a portion of their tax refunds. Now in its fifth year, SaveYourRefund is offered by Commonwealth (formerly D2D Fund) and America Saves to reach local tax filers.

The SaveYourRefund campaign provides fun and exciting incentives for Americans to save at tax time, when households making less than $50,000 claim $100 billion in federal tax refunds. More than half of all Americans have no savings to help them cope with even small emergencies. Yet more than 100 million taxpayers get refunds from the IRS each year, which offers the perfect opportunity to get an emergency fund started. For many individuals and families, that tax refund is the largest check that they will receive all year.

A chance to win a $25,000 grand prize or one of 100 smaller prizes has proven to be enough to turn saving skeptics into savings winners. Over 9,000 entrants have saved more than $7.5 million through SaveYourRefund since 2013.

Commonwealth, America Saves and Hancock Saves look forward to continuing to expand the reach and impact of SaveYourRefund in 2017.

Assistance and information will be available online at www.saveyourrefund.com.

“We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with America Saves and look forward to another exciting year of fun and prizes at tax time in 2017,” said Commonwealth Executive Director Tim Flacke. “Even a small amount of money saved can make a big difference. SaveYourRefund helps tax filers all over the country to take an important step on the pathway to financial security.”

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Hancock Saves is a campaign supported through America Saves, a campaign managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America, seeks to motivate, encourage, and support low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. The research-based campaign uses the principles of behavioral economics and social marketing to change behavior. Nonprofit, government, and corporate groups participate in America Saves nationally and through local, regional, and statewide campaigns around the country. America Saves encourages individuals and families to take the America Saves pledge and organizations to promote savings year-round and during America Saves Week. Learn more at americasaves.org and americasavesweek.org. Hancock Saves is funded in part by United Way of Hancock County.

About HHWP Community Action Commission:

The mission of HHWP Community Action Commission is to reduce the conditions of poverty by providing comprehensive services to improve lives.  For more information, visit www.hhwpcac.org or https://www.facebook.com/hhwpcac .

About United Way of Hancock County:

Although it is a global organization, each United Way is locally governed and focuses on improving lives in each individual community across the country and around the world.

Since its inception in 1955, United Way of Hancock County has gone from doing fundraising for a handful of organizations to partnering with hundreds of local nonprofit programs and services. Cumulatively, the organization has raised more than $79 million to accomplish its mission to measurably improve people’s lives in Hancock County. Its board, staff and community-minded volunteers serve on community committees, participate in collaborative projects and partner with cross-sector organizations to address the root causes of social issues in Hancock County.