As a new homeowner, Lori’s life has changed in recent years. This Del Valle mother of five says what hasn’t changed for her is she is still “living paycheck to paycheck.” That’s why every year she can’t wait to receive her income tax refund. To get her taxes done, Lori has relied for several years on free tax services from the IRS-certified tax preparers with Foundation Communities’ Prosper Tax Help program.
“Just knowing that I’m having someone who is qualified to do them correctly takes my worries away,” said Lori. “I also enjoy not having to spend money for someone to get that done. I want all my money back.”
Lori says she also loves that Prosper Tax Help staff and volunteers don’t mind answering all her questions. She had plenty of questions about the 2021 Child Tax Credit. The Child Tax Credit for parents was expanded in 2021 from $2,000 to $3,000 for each child ages six to 16, and to $3,600 for each child under six through The American Rescue Plan. Many parents also received half of their 2021 Child Tax Credit through monthly payments from July to December 2021. Lori was afraid those payments would reduce the amount of her tax refund, but Prosper Tax Help assured her it would not. She says those advance payments were right on time!
“Instead of waiting for that one time of year for that money to come in to help, you’re getting it throughout the year. So it was kind of a big stress reliever,” said Lori.
Lori says she used the advance payments to get her car repaired when it broke down, to get work done on her new home, and to take her kids on trips. She says those are things she would have struggled to do without the money from the expanded Child Tax Credit.
We hear from some taxpayers that they choose to pay for tax preparation thinking that if they’ll get a bigger refund if they pay for the service. Lori has this message for them: “I would probably say you better make sure they’re not doing anything illegal first of all. I feel like coming here, I do get what I’m supposed to get, and I don’t’ see that there’s anything they would miss by getting them processed by Foundation Communities Tax Centers,” said Lori.
Although the tax filing deadline has passed, there is still time for families to claim the full 2021 Child Tax Credit (or the half they are still owed) by filing tax returns. Our Tax Help program will be open at our Prosper Centers in North and South Austin until October 15, 2022. We are accepting appointments and walk-ins. You can find out more information, including the schedules and locations, at ProsperTaxHelp.org