Delaware Public Media

Free tax prep programs help low income families receive larger refunds

Feb 17, 2017

It’s tax season, and many First State families who may qualify for tax credits and deductions may not be taking full advantage of them.

Mary DuPont is in charge of financial empowerment for DHSS – and runs a program called Stand By Me, providing one-on-one financial coaching and support to state residents.

 

DuPont says tax time can elicit  different reactions – depending on one’s tax bracket.

 

“For some people, it’s like: 'uh-oh, what do I owe?' But for a lot of people, it’s: 'yay, it’s tax time, I’m going to be getting a big refund back,' " DuPont said.

 

And the IRS estimates that 1 in 5 people nationally who are eligible for tax credits, like the earned income tax credit don’t take them - potentially leaving thousands of dollars on the table.

 

DuPont adds approximately 60% of Delaware residents likely qualify for the earned income tax credit, or a child tax credit.

 

“There’s a lot of families that qualify for the earned income tax credit, which is kind of like the big bonanza, let me tell you," DuPont said. "It’s worth like over $4,000 if you get the full amount, and it’s cash.”

But DuPont says awareness of these tax credits is growing in Delaware, thanks to free tax prep services for low to mid income individuals.

 

My Free Taxes is a free web-based software available to those with a household income of less than $64,000 – and for those less tech savvy, DuPont says there’s the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program.

 

Delaware Public Media reached out to the program, but they were too busy helping people with their taxes to comment immediately.