Free tax filing assistance offered

  • Thursday, February 14, 2013

Tax season is here again and The Benefit Bank of South Carolina (TBB-SC) wants to help low- and moderate-income wage earners obtain free federal and state income tax filing assistance, and to identify other work support benefits for which they may be eligible.

Free income tax filing assistance is provided through TBB-SC, a web-based, counselor-assisted program that connects South Carolinians with access to potential work supports, such as health care coverage, child care subsidies and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamps). At TBB-SC member organizations that offer tax filing assistance, trained counselors will help clients file their tax returns at no cost, if they meet the income eligibility requirement of $60,000. If eligible, clients can also claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a special tax refund program for working families and individuals who qualify.

“Each year, many eligible taxpayers miss out on getting free tax preparation assistance because they either don’t know it is available or they don’t know where to get it”, said Tricia Richardson, TBB-SC director. “Furthermore, at least one in every four taxpayers eligible for the EITC fails to claim the credit, which is why the TBB-SC is hosting tax clinics throughout the state to help people file returns for free.”

Each year, more than $1.6 billion dollars in tax credits and other supports go unclaimed because they were never applied for. More than 95 percent of these unclaimed funds are federal dollars. Millions are lost to Refund Anticipation Loans (RAL) annually. Claiming these dollars for individuals and families will bring more federal money to communities and help to boost the economy. With direct deposit, clients can receive their refund in as few as seven to 10 days.

If you are a student at Trident Technical College, please contact TBB-SC to see when staff members are hosting a tax clinic on your campus. Otherwise, contact TBB-SC to find a tax site in your area. Eligible individuals can also use the free online service to paper or electronically file their own taxes. They can visit https://selfserve.thebenefitbank.com/ to get started.

For more information about The Benefit Bank of South Carolina, please contact Melanie Dozier Colclough at 803-528-7202.

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