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|United Way, others offer tax assistance|
The United Way of Northeast Louisiana will once again offer tax assistance to low-income families throughout the region.
United Way representatives on Friday announced it will continue its "Earn It! Keep It! Save It!" program for area residents.
The program will provide free tax return preparation, e-filing services and assistance with filing tax credit claims to northeast Louisiana households that earned less than $41,646 in 2008.
The program will serve residents of the 15-parish area of northeast Louisiana. Last year, with the 12 assistance sites, United Way helped 50 percent more local residents acquire additional money through this tax assistance program.
Linda Holyfield, chairman of northeast Louisiana United Way's board of directors, said last year's efforts to help citizens with their income taxes were a huge success. This year, more partners will work with the United Way to provide tax assistance, so she expects the results will be even better.
"There's so many more people involved this year, and I can't wait to see the outcomes, and how many more people will have access to more income so they can become more financially stable," she said.
Northeast Louisiana United Way president Janet Durden said ABC Coalition along with nonprofit agencies, churches and businesses have teamed up to provide 25 tax assistance sites in each parish of northeast Louisiana.
"The purpose of the coalition is to ensure that hard-working families have access to these benefits so they can become financially stable," Durden said. "Certainly in these tough times, being more financially stable is just absolutely critical for everyone."
Michelle Saucer-McGuire with United Way said there are "millions of dollars being left on the table" in northeast Louisiana from earned income tax credit.
"Our residents are hard-working people who need these funds to become more financially stable," she said. "This also helps our local economy because we're bringing money back into our communities."
Partners in the program are trained and certified through the IRS to provide free income tax assistance.
Last year, 12 sites provided assistance throughout the region. This year, there will be 25 throughout northeast Louisiana.
In Ouachita Parish, there will be six sites to help local residents who qualify for assistance.
Another manner in which United Way is helping low-income families this tax season is by offering financial classes to teach residents financial responsibility.
For location and hours of operation for tax assistance, call 2-1-1.