United Way honored the volunteers who created a dramatic financial difference for thousands of Mid-South families as workers in our Free Tax Prep program earlier this month. Volunteers in our Free Tax Prep program helped bring in over $11.6 million in refunds, and ensured that over $4.27 million in Earned Income Tax Credits were claimed by local citizens. The average refund was over $1,730.00. Volunteers prepared over 7,760 tax returns for Mid-Southerners in 2014-15, nearly 10% more than the previous year. The average adjusted gross income of people who received help was roughly $24,500.00 The vast majority of returns were prepared at local “Super Sites” in the Southland Mall, Hickory Ridge Mall, Raleigh Springs Mall, and a mobile site which visited underserved areas. When a family that is struggling to make ends meet is able to receive free tax preparation help rather than having to spend (often) hundreds of dollars with other preparers, it makes a huge difference. The service also helps citizens avoid predatory lending practices at less-than-reputable tax centers. This program only succeeds thanks to the dedicated service of trained local volunteers. If you see a friend, neighbor or family member in these photos, be sure to thank them for making a difference in our community! (Note: Photos from Steve Hulbert, Creative Photo Services)