United Way of the Mid-South prepares to launch the organization’s principal program, Free Tax Prep program which brings millions to city’s economic engine, impacting people in poverty.
Over 130 dedicated volunteers across the Mid-South through tax preparation and financial coaching brought in over $12 million dollars in refunds via United Way of the Mid-South’s Free Tax Prep Program last year.
“We want to turn the tide on how people handle and file their taxes, protecting them from predatory lenders and illegal tax shops,” said Yvonne Howard, United Way Senior Associate and Free Tax Prep coordinator. “Our tax sites offer free filing as well as financial coaching and education to assist people with how to best use their tax refund based on their desired lifestyle.”
United Way is on an intense mission to fight the Mid-South’s biggest challenge: poverty. In 2016, The Free Tax Prep program served over 8,400 low to moderate income families and individuals.
10 percent of DeSoto County households live in poverty with a population just under 200,000. United Way of the Mid-South’s Free Tax Prep program falls under our new initiative Driving The Dream, a system-of-care network with shared data, strategies, and resources amongst a host of organizations, agencies and services to help people living in poverty “drive” themselves towards a better quality of life and greater self-sufficiency. Driving The Dream uses multiple organizations to help assist an individual tackle the multiple stressors and challenges that arise and keep a person in poverty.
“Assisting people with household incomes under $54,000 to prepare and file their taxes, we are helping them receive a refund up to 20% of their annual income,” says Howard. “This is a huge boost for paying bills, getting out of debt, or opening a checking and saving account. We’re helping people dodge payday loan sharks and illegal tax shops.”
If you are interested in learning more about serving as a Free Tax Prep volunteer, please contact Janet Haas at 901-433-4364 or e-mail Janet.Haas@uwmidsouth.org.