Society of St. Vincent de Paul - Detroit Provides Free Tax Preparation for Low Income Families

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Each year, millions of dollars of tax refunds are unclaimed by those who need them most, the poor. This is largely because they don’t understand how to complete their income tax returns and can’t afford to hire someone to help them.

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This initiative is an attempt to prevent predatory tax preparers whose fees can exceed $1,000 for doing simple tax returns for the people we serve,” said William Brazier, Executive Director of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Once again this year St. Vincent de Paul – Detroit is teaming up with AARP to offer free tax preparation for low income families, individuals and senior citizens. AARP TAX-AIDE is the country’s largest free, volunteer-run tax preparation and filing program. The service will be available at the Society’s Detroit headquarters, 3000 Gratiot Avenue, at the Society’s Utica Thrift Store, 45550 Van Dyke, and at several other AARP sites in southeast Michigan. In 2011, AARP volunteers at the Gratiot site helped prepare 96 Federal returns and 139 Michigan returns besides providing free tax assistance to over 17,000 low and middle-income taxpayers at 25 tax sites, returning $21.2 million to the economy of southeast Michigan.

“This initiative is an attempt to prevent predatory tax preparers whose fees can exceed $1,000 for doing simple tax returns for the people we serve,” said William Brazier, Executive Director of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. “These refunds can help struggling families recover the dollars to help them feed their children, stay in their homes and keep the heat and light turned on.”

The free tax preparation service will be available at the St. Vincent de Paul office on Gratiot, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM, February 2nd through April 17th. Those needing help can call 313-393-2930 to schedule an appointment at the Gratiot location. In addition, free tax preparation service will be available at the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store in Utica on Van Dyke on February 22nd , 29th , and March 7th from 1:00 PM to 3:00PM. Details on other locations and times for the free service are available at AARP’s website, http://www.aarp.org/money/taxaide/taxpreparation/.

“IRS forms are confusing for all of us,” said Brazier. “We want to do anything we can to alleviate the suffering. We think helping these people collect refunds that are actually owed to them can go a long way in helping them to get back on their feet.”

About The Society of St. Vincent de Paul - Detroit
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul - Detroit is the local arm of The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic lay organization of approximately 700,000 men and women who voluntarily join together to grow spiritually and offer person-to-person service to those living in poverty and the largest social assistance organization in the world. The Detroit office of The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a major provider of human services. Programs include home visits, housing assistance, disaster relief, job training and placement, food pantries, clothing and utility assistance. The Society works in conjunction with the Archdiocese of Detroit, networking with 2,000 Vincentian volunteers in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Lapeer, St. Clair and Monroe counties, and assisting 30,000 local households annually. For more information about the Society or its programs, please visit http://www.svdpdet.org.

Some useful information about AARP:
In 2010, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide's 35,000 volunteers helped their clients receive $1.2 billion in tax refunds and $233 million in earned income tax credits. More than half — 55 percent — of those surveyed said they used their refunds to pay bills. One in four (25 percent) bought food, medicine or clothing, and one in four put the extra money into savings. Finally, 51 percent said they would have paid someone to do their taxes if Tax-Aide weren't available, and 19 percent said they would call on friends or family for help. Just 17 percent said they would do their taxes themselves. The answers to this question no doubt are as much a reflection of the increasing complexity of tax forms as they are of Tax-Aide, but they're also another strong indicator of the value of the program to all those it serves.

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