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from The Morning Journal: United Way of Lorain County prepares for tax season, Organization offers help for residents

Posted December 28, 2021
2:38 pm

By Aliah Kimbro

The United Way of Lorain County is making tax preparation easier for residents.

The Free Tax Prep allows for eligible families to file their taxes for free through the Lorain County Free Tax Prep Coalition.

The Lorain County Free Tax Prep Coalition Partners are AARP, city of Lorain, Elyria Public Library System, IRS, Lorain Public Library System, Ohio Means Jobs, PNC Bank and the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.

“Our coalition partners help us in a variety of ways,” said Ashley Hampson, marketing and engagement director for United Way of Lorain County. “Our local bank partners help to fund the program and support the infrastructure, while some of our other partners are sites where preparation is offered.”

The United Way of Lorain County will prepare taxes for families with an AGI (average gross income) less than $60,000.

“It’s very important for us to be able to offer these services for families who are on the lower to moderate income scale,” Hampson said. “Our goal is to serve lower income families and help them be healthy and financially stable.”

Hampson said the average gross income of families utilizing the service is $23,000.

“Paid tax preparers are typically a difficult option for some of the people we’re able to help, but they still need and deserve every dollar that they’re eligible for,” she said. “Our software and preparers are geared to ensure that these families will get the maximum tax credits available to them.”

The United Way even has won awards for its tax preparation services, Hampson said.

“This is an IRS-certified program so they audit us, and our error rate is very exceptional,” she said. “At one of our busiest sites, the rate is under 1.5%, and we’ve earned awards from the IRS for the quality of our tax prep services.”

Clients may begin to schedule tax appointments by Jan. 10, although Hampson said appointments will not begin until Jan. 30.

Tax preparation will be available at the West River Branch of the Elyria Public Library System, 1194 W. River Road North; Lorain Public Library System Main Branch, 351 W. Sixth St. in Lorain; Ohio Means Jobs, 42495 North Ridge Road; and the United Way of Lorain County, 642 Broadway in downtown Lorain.

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