College and high school student volunteers prepare taxes for many Coloradans across the state. This year there are 24 tax sites where families can file for free.
Colleges and high schools throughout Colorado have partnered with Tax Help Colorado, a program of The Piton Foundation, to give students college credit and help low- to moderate-wage earners in their communities. Through the program, students are IRS-certified to provide free tax preparation assistance for individuals who earned $54,000 or less in 2016.
Kylea, a Junior at Mountain Range High School, was encouraged to volunteer with Tax Help Colorado by her accounting teacher. “Being able to help people and see relief is really rewarding,” said Kylea. Like many students, Kylea will be volunteering her time at multiple locations, including Front Range Community College and Thornton High School.
“While the income limit to qualify for free services is $54,000, the average income of someone who comes into a site is $20,000,” said Courtney O’Reilly, Tax Help Colorado program manager. “This service makes a direct impact in people’s lives because many of them qualify for bigger refunds, and need their tax refund to make ends meet.”
O’Reilly emphasized the importance of connecting students to the program to strengthen community self-sufficiency. “Learning how to file taxes is a lifelong skill that these students will be able to take with them into the future, but it also helps them develop civic leadership skills,” she said.
Participating students take an accredited course on income tax preparation during the fall. This course allows the students to become IRS certified, and provide free tax preparation in the spring.
Since 2007, the Tax Help Colorado program has expanded to host 24 tax sites across the state. These sites are located as far North as Fort Collins and stretch South to Alamosa. Travel East to find a tax site in Yuma and West to Red Rocks Community College in Lakewood. Dates and times vary for each site, however, most sites operate from late January through the end of March.
Taxpayers with annual incomes under $54,000 qualify for free tax help and can call 2-1-1 to find a free tax site near them, or go to www.piton.org/tax-help to search online. Taxpayers with incomes under $64,000 can file online for free through myfreetaxes.com, which includes prompts to walk them through the process.
Learn more about the Tax Help Colorado program and The Piton Foundation’s EITC Outreach campaign at www.piton.org/tax-help-colorado.
About The Piton Foundation
The Piton Foundation, which is part of Gary Community Investments, is a private, operating foundation established in 1976 by Denver oilman Sam Gary. It is committed to improving the lives of Colorado’s low-income children and their families by increasing access to quality early childhood and youth development opportunities and fostering healthy family and community environments. In addition to investing in creative solutions for Colorado’s low-income children and their families, Piton operates its own programs, including the Data Initiative, Tax Help Colorado, and the nation’s largest and longest-running Earned Income Tax Credit public information campaign.