Columbus Agency Helps Taxpayers Get Earned Income Credit.

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Taxes are due later this week. WOSU’s Tom Borgerding reports one area agency is helping some taxpayers get the most from their return.

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Its going to be a busy week for Bill Whisler. He’s a volunteer tax preparer at Impact Community Action at Bryden Road and Parsons Avenue. And the deadline for filing taxes is this Thursday.

“We help a lot of people and we get them more money than they normally would so I think that’s a good thing.” Says Whisler.

Whisler was trained by the United Way to help people in Columbus and Franklin County prepare their 2009 tax returns. He says most of the folks who walk through the door at Impact have low-to-moderate earned income.

“We see the earned income tax credit on the majority of returns.”

The earned income tax credit is available to some low and moderate income working individuals and families. The credit could mean an extra couple of hundred dollars to an individual. But, Whisler says, collectively, the credit translates into much more disposable income for Central Ohio.

“Last year,” says Whisler, “the earned income tax credit refunds to Franklin County alone was over $171,000,000.”

On a recent week-day morning, Teresa Howard of Columbus brought her W-2′s, Social Security information and other tax documents to Whisler’s office at Impact. Its the third consecutive year that Howard says she’s used the free service.

“So its a program that really helps and benefits people of low income, and others as well. I just don’t like to do taxes.” Says Howard.

Howard is single with no dependents. So, she says doing taxes is tedious. She also has a slight anxiety about missing a possible tax credit or benefit if she does her own tax return.

“Taxes change every year and you never know what’s going to be for you and what’s going to be against you.”

Although Howard declined to give specifics of her return, she says she’ll get a small refund this year after volunteer Whisler crunched the numbers after volunteer Whisler crunched the numbers and found all the available credits due her.

“I would say, I would say a few know about it, many do not know about it. And that’s just one of several other new credits that are available out there. There’s a make work pay credit. Another one that’s missed by a lot of people is educational credits if they’re going to school. Alot of the expenses are deductible.” Says Whisler.

The deadline for filing 2009 tax returns is Thursday midnight.

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