Tax Payers See Exciting Returns with Salvation Army’s Help

Hopefully you’ve finished your tax returns since today is the deadline to have those in the mail! By tomorrow, thankfully, that burden should be behind us.

In a welcome surprise, some Salvation Army clients in Ohio recently found their tax burden has turned into a tax blessing!

Last week we discussed how many Salvation Army community centers offer free tax filing preparation and assistance.

Specifically, The Salvation Army of Marion, Ohio is the 2nd most active participating site in their state, serving 489 people to date and completing 495 federal and 392 state tax returns. Adena Pennington, the Income Tax Program Director, is also the 2nd most active program director in the state. In total, more than $500,600 refund dollars have been requested from Marion County through this free program, and they’ve had many happy clients!

The Salvation Army's Adena Pennington (left) helps clients Guy and Sandra file their tax returns for free.

Sheryl Simmons from the Marion Salvation Army recounted the story of a woman named Anne who made an appointment to have a bank counselor assist her with her federal and state income tax filing.  Anne is married with 1 child but was filing separately from her husband. After completing her tax forms, Anne was to get a federal refund of $111.00. She then spoke with The Salvation Army about her tax return, and Sheryl recommended Anne and her husband file jointly so as to qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). They agreed, and not only did they qualify for the EITC of $2,000, they also received a child tax credit, earning them a total refund of more than $4,000! Anne and her husband will also be making an appointment to have their 2008 return amended since they’ve been filing separately for several years, and chances are they’ll probably receive a significant refund for that return as well.

Marion Salvation Army’s Major Jim Sayer said, “This is why we provide this service. This family did not know that they could qualify, and that their filing status prevented them from claiming the EITC.”

Sheryl said several days later a woman named Pat came into The Salvation Army for a food appointment.  She had gone to a local “professional tax preparation chain” and was charged almost $300 to have her return filed.  Since she did not have the money to pay the company, they deducted the fee from her refund.  Pat still owed taxes from a previous year so her refund would not be returned, and now she still owes the company $300.  Once Pat discovered that The Salvation Army files tax returns free of charge, she vowed to come to them instead next year.

Hmmm…with assistance like this, maybe filing tax returns is something people could almost look forward to!

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