Community

Louisville Metro is partnering with local nonprofits to provide free tax preparation services to low- and moderate-income residents ahead of the April 18 filing deadline.

The Louisville Asset Building Coalition has run the VITA program since 2001, helping more than 120,000 area residents file their taxes. Any family with a yearly income of less than $66,000 can qualify. Volunteer tax specialists will check to see if families qualify for an earned income tax credit (EITC). Last year, the average EITC credit was nearly $2,800.

“That’s a significant amount of money for anybody,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said at a press conference Monday morning. “Obviously it can do a lot by taking care of the basics, like groceries and medicine, maybe provide a down payment on a car, save for college, retirement, what have you.”

The volunteer specialists can also help families navigate the Child Tax Credit, which was increased to $3,600 per child last year in response to the pandemic. Families were allowed to receive part of the credit in monthly payments up front through December. 

Free tax prep services can be accessed online at getyourrefund.org. Volunteers will also be available to assist people in-person at eight locations in the coming weeks, including the Louisville Urban League, Americana Community Center and the Oldham County LaGrange Library.

Because of COVID-19, in-person services are limited to appointments only. Anyone interested can sign up at louisvillekyvita.cascheduler.com or call 502-305-0005.

Dorothy Starks, a site coordinator for the program, was previously a client herself. She said the program can be an asset to anyone that needs help understanding the process and what they are owed.

“A lot of times we don’t have the money to pay to get the taxes done at these different sites they have,” Starks said. “So this is a great opportunity for all the community. It not only helps us with our taxes, but also helps us with financial questions.”

Staff with the city’s Bank On Louisville program will also be available to set up bank accounts for those without them. 

The IRS is currently facing a backlog from last year’s filings on top of staff shortages. The agency has advised people to file electronically and request their tax return via direct deposit in order to avoid delays.

Roberto Roldan is the City Politics and Government Reporter for WFPL.