Wayne Metro Easing the Burden for Low Income Residents and Adding Extra Incentives to Save at Tax Time
Detroit, MI — Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency (Wayne Metro) is offering free tax preparations services for low income residents of Wayne County. This free service is available until April 18, 2016 for individuals and families with earned income less than $54,000 for 2015.
By utilizing this service, participants can expect to save on average $200 in preparation fees. In 2015, Wayne Metro tax clients received refunds averaging $1,600. In addition to free tax services, additional value added benefits are available at many tax preparation sites including access to emergency utility and water assistance, budgeting and financial services, homeownership and home loan programs, along with educational resources and literacy initiatives.
Wayne Metro offers a special prepaid card option for clients that are unbanked (those having no bank savings or checking account) who will be receiving a tax refund. This is a one-time loadable card from PNC Bank. Through this option, clients can deposit tax return funds directly into a special PNC Bank savings account with a prepaid card to use for their purchases the same way a regular debit check card would be used. This option introduces low-income clients to the benefits of saving money, budgeting, and achieving personal financial independence and self-sufficiency.
All Wayne Metro tax preparers are trained, tested, and certified through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on how to locate and take advantage of tax allowances for low-income tax filers. Wayne Metro preparers can also refer clients onto other no cost financial services and supports including financial coaching, match saving accounts programs, and homeownership education.
“Tax time can pose a significant burden for low income families. $200 is a lot to pull together to pay a tax preparer and there is always the fear of being in the position of owing money,” said Mia Cupp, chief development and communications officer for Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency. “Our service aims to ease that burden by eliminating the $200 or more in fees and then helping people to understand what filing options could present the greatest returns.”
Wayne Metro is also participating in the PAY YOURSELF FIRST! Program, a national movement that encourages tax clients to save a small portion of their refund and build on that savings over time. PAY YOURSELF FIRST clients are entered into multiple prize drawings at their respective tax prep site. Tax filers who place at least $50 of their federal tax refund in a savings account can enter to win 1 of 10 weekly prizes, and submit a photo to be entered to win the grand prize of $25,000!
Tax clients can also take advantage Wayne Metro’s Matched Savings Accounts program that matches every $1 clients deposits into a savings account with up to $3. The program will match a client’s savings deposits up to $1,000 over 6 months for a maximum total of $4,000 to put toward buying a home, paying for college, or starting their own micro business.
Wayne Metro has tax preparation locations across Wayne County. Clients can find the location nearest them by visiting www.waynemetro.org or calling 734-284-6999 or 313-388-9799 to make an appointment. Walk-ins are also accepted.