OJC Press Release ID: 2457

Monday, January 25, 2016


OJC offering free tax filing services through tax help Colorado program
Individuals with household incomes less than $53,000 qualify for free tax assistance
 
This tax season, Otero Junior College is partnering with the Denver-based Piton Foundation to help hard-working families become more financially secure by providing free tax preparation assistance through the Tax Help Colorado program. Beginning February 6, IRS-certified OJC students will prepare and e-file tax returns free of charge for individuals with household incomes of less than about $53,000 a year.

Tax Help Colorado has a presence on 17 college campuses and operates 26 free tax sites statewide. More than 30% of Colorado families are eligible to participate in the program, which was created to help alleviate the financial burden of tax preparation on families that are striving to achieve financial stability.

Many of the families that qualify for free tax help are also eligible for valuable tax benefits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit, and the preparers at OJC’s site specialize in ensuring that taxpayers receive the refunds they deserve. One of the nation’s most successful anti-poverty tools, the EITC helps struggling families make ends meet. In addition, for the first time in 15 years, low- to moderate-income workers can now also claim a state EITC, which is 10 % of the federal EITC.

In 2015, Tax Help Colorado helped nearly 10,800 taxpayers receive more than $20.4 million in tax refunds, including nearly 8 million from the Earned Income Tax Credit. In addition, the program saved lower-income taxpayers nearly $2.8 million in commercial tax preparation fees.

This free service, which is quick and confidential, will be offered at OJC from each Saturday in February from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Learning Commons located in Wheeler Hall on the OJC campus.  A final date will be available on Saturday, March 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

People who are getting their taxes prepared at OJC should bring the following documents:
•    All W-2, 1099s and other income-related documents.
•    Proof of mortgage interest, property taxes, daycare payments, college education expenses, charitable contributions, and all other tax-deductible expenses.
•    For college expenses: In addition to Form 1098T from your college, you must bring your own records of expenses paid for tuition, books, fees and supplies.
•    To report health coverage, you will need one of the following forms: 1095-A, 1095-B, and/or 1095-C.
•    If you received a tax credit to lower the cost of paying health insurance, bring form 1095-A, which you received from Connect for Health Colorado.
•    Social Security cards (or ITINs) for all family members. Photo I.D. for taxpayer required.
•    A copy of last year’s tax returns, if available.
•    Bank account number and routing number to direct deposit the refund. With direct deposit, refunds are received in 10 to 14 days.

A list of all the Tax Help Colorado sites, as well as the locations of other free tax assistance sites in Colorado, is available by dialing 2-1-1 (it’s a free call), visiting http://www.piton.org/tax-help-colorado, or finding Tax Help Colorado on Facebook  (www.facebook.com/taxhelpcolorado) and Twitter (@TaxHelpCo).

NOTE TO MEDIA: Local media is invited to visit this free tax site during tax season, and interviews can be arranged with student tax preparers and tax site clients. To schedule a visit, please contact Deb Engler, OJC Tax Help Colorado coordinator, at 719-6811.

About The Piton Foundation
The Piton Foundation, which is part of Gary Community Investments, is a private, operating foundation established in 1976 by Denver oilman Sam Gary.  We are committed to improving the lives of Colorado's low-income children and their families by increasing access to quality early childhood and youth development opportunities and fostering healthy family and community environments.

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