Last year Neighborhood Tax Centers filed returns for some 28,000 families and singles who needed help. Neighborhood Centers is a social service agency that helps communities with a wide range of neighborhood-based programs. Elizabeth Colvin is director of the program that provides free tax help.
“We build vibrant communities. We have six community centers. We really help people from cradle till seniors. We provide a wide range of services and Neighborhood Tax Centers are just one of these services.”
To be eligible for the free tax help a husband and wife must have a combined income of less than $50,000. Singles must make less than $30,000. The returns are done by volunteers who either do taxes as a living or do their own and become certified after taking a training course.
“There’s a training that’s required. Depending on someone’s tax knowledge it ranges from up to twelve hours, and there are also two tests that have to be taken to be able to volunteer with our program. And we ask for 36 hours during tax season for our volunteers.”
This will be the fourth year Neighborhood Centers has prepared taxes for free. The Centers start taking clients January 16th, which doesn’t leave much time for volunteers to get certified. Colvin says she wants people who like helping others and love doing taxes.
So I asked her, are there really people who love doing taxes?
“Yes there are. We have an amazing group of volunteers and we will probably have 500 volunteers preparing taxes this upcoming season and those are 500 people who really enjoy doing taxes, but more importantly enjoy helping families, helping people keep 100 percent of the money that they have earned.”
To find out more information about being a volunteer, or for locations of where you can go to get your taxes done, go to their website or call 211.
“We have helped claim over $90 million in tax refunds and credits. And all of that money has gone directly into the pockets of hardworking, lower income Houston families. And you know the families have benefited and all of Houston benefits by having that money come here locally.”