Impact America, Wofford College team up for free tax preparation - FOX Carolina 21

Impact America, Wofford College team up for free tax preparation for eligible families, individuals

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Impact America offers free tax preparation services for Upstate residents who qualify (FOX Carolina: 1/29/2018). Impact America offers free tax preparation services for Upstate residents who qualify (FOX Carolina: 1/29/2018).
Impact America offers free tax preparation services for Upstate residents who qualify (FOX Carolina: 1/29/2018). Impact America offers free tax preparation services for Upstate residents who qualify (FOX Carolina: 1/29/2018).
Impact America offers free tax preparation services for Upstate residents who qualify (FOX Carolina: 1/29/2018). Impact America offers free tax preparation services for Upstate residents who qualify (FOX Carolina: 1/29/2018).
SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) -

For the past few years, Patricia Nobles has taken advantage of free tax preparation and filing. 

"I have tried doing it myself and oh gosh, it's something else. I used the little free tax lines and i mean it took me forever," said Nobles.

Just like last year, she's once again taking advantage of the SaveFirst program offered in Spartanburg. It's a partnership between Wofford College SC Thrive, Spartanburg County Public Library and Impact America.

Sarah Umsted, the South Carolina Director for Impact America, said the goal of the program is to help as many Upstate families as possible eligible for the Earned Income Tax credit. Impact called the credit "the federal government's largest and most successful anti-poverty program for low-income, working families".

"Families will pay hundreds of dollars to go to a tax preparer when they can come here for free and get all of their money back," said Umsted.

It's not just those who come in who benefit from this program. Wofford staff members said this year 36 students went through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program also known as VITA to learn how to prepare returns and see first hand what it means to provide a service like this.

"They develop deep empathy with lower income families because they sit down with them and often times debunk those sort of myths that they've carried with them about lower income folks," said Jessalyn Wynn Story, the Director of the Center for Community Based Learning, Wofford.

"It's a good way to connect what we discuss in class to the real world," said Ramon Galinanes, Director of Bonner Scholars Program, Wofford College.

Umsted said the goal this year is to surpass the impact they made in 2016.

"Last year we did, over $600,000 in refunds was secured and we saved tax payers over $200,000 in commercial tax prep fees," said Umsted.

An impact that meant and still means a lot to people like Nobles. 

"Oh it's just a blessing," said Nobles.

Impact and Wofford hope to help about 650 families before tax day. 

There are also Spanish speaking students are helping out to translate for any one who might need it. 

All tax preparation is happening on the second floor of the main Spartanburg County Public Library on South Church Street through April 17. 

Those interested in setting up an appointment can call 1-844-44-TAX or schedule one online. Walk-ins are allowed but appointments are encouraged.

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