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01.20.2009 02:20 PM
Free Tax Preparation for Low Income Households in St. Louis City and County
By:UnitedWaySTL News

GECC will help families with incomes of $42,000 or less


ST. LOUIS, MO (January 20, 2009) -  Need help with your tax preparation? If you live in St. Louis City or County and your household income was $42,000 or less in 2008 you may qualify for free tax help - and you just might get more money back, too. Starting Saturday, January 31, the Gateway EITC Community Coalition (GECC) will offer tax help. For information on if you qualify, locations, dates, and documents needed see below or contact the United Way at 2-1-1 or 1-800-427-4626.


The assistance focuses on individuals or families who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which is a federal tax credit designed to help people increase their financial stability numerous ways. It's estimated that more than 20 percent of St. Louis citizens eligible for EITC credit did not file last year for a loss of almost $30 million dollars in the Metropolitan St. Louis Area. According to GECC, the average EITC return for St. Louisans was approximately $3,000 last year.


Locations/dates/times for GECC Free Tax Preparation for those with a 2008 household income of $42,000 or less are below. No appointment is necessary to attend.


North City

MET Center (at the Wellston MetroLink)

6347 Plymouth Ave., St. Louis, MO 63133

8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Saturdays: January 31, February 7, February 14, February 21 and February 28



South City

Five Star Senior Center*

2832 Arsenal St., St. Louis, MO 63118

8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Saturdays: January 31, February 7, February 14, February 21 and February 28


*Five Star Senior Center will also provide free tax services through April 15 by appointment only, Monday - Friday between 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Call 314-664-1008 to make an appointment.


South/Central City


4304 Manchester, St. Louis, MO 63110


*ACORN will also provide free tax services through April 15 by appointment only, Monday - Friday between 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Call 314-531-7023 to make an appointment.


Various Locations

Call 2-1-1 or 1-800-427-4626 to find the nearest AARP tax preparation service to you. AARP normally requires appointments.


If your 2008 household income was less than $42,000 and you do not require any itemizations such as schedules A, B, C or D, you qualify for EITC tax assistance. Please bring the following documents with you to the preparation:

•   All W-2's and 1099's (if any)

•   Social Security Card(s) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number(s) - ITIN - for all family members

•   Valid picture ID for taxpayer and spouse (driver's license or state ID or passport)

•   Copy of your 2006 tax return (if applicable)

•   Proof of unemployment compensation (if valid)

•   Copy of a voided check or bank account and routing numbers for direct deposit

•   Proof of child care expenses (if valid)

•   Amount of advanced EITC payment

•   If married, must file jointly and both spouses must be present to sign paperwork


"Up to $30 million EITC refunds are projected to go unclaimed in the St. Louis region this year," said Russ Signorino, vice president, community information for United Way of Greater St. Louis. "This figure represents a substantial loss of revenue for our community and lost income for low-wage workers."


Through past volunteer efforts, the Gateway Community Coalition has substantially increased the monetary impact to individuals and the community by helping to bring back more than $4.3 million in refunds for the 2007 tax year.


The IRS estimates that 58 percent of low-to-moderate income families or working poor in this community pay an average of $267 for tax preparation, refund anticipation loans, electronic filing fees and check cashing fees. This results in an additional combined financial drain of more than $10 million for these local families.


GECC is a public/private partnership working to bring unclaimed EITC refunds to low-income individuals and families in the St. Louis region and is made up of 25 member organizations. United Way of Greater St. Louis is a key partner in the coalition providing administration, office space and volunteer training. Financial support for GECC is provided by: Bank of America, US Bank, St. Louis Community Credit Union and St. Louis Community College.




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