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Still Need to File Your Taxes? Tax Day is Coming July 15

July 1, 2020 | Posted in Tax Services, Financial Stability | Keywords: , , , , ,

Due to COVID-19 the deadline for filing taxes was extended to July 15. If you still need to file your taxes, Foundation Communities’ free online tax prep services are available for anyone who needs it. With the income tax filing deadline right around the corner, Austinites who need to file their tax return still have time to get help from our IRS-certified tax preparers. We offer absolutely free tax preparation with no fees or deductions from refunds.

Are you expecting a refund? If so, get in touch with us to file your tax return as soon as possible. Your refund can be deposited directly into your bank account. Our IRS-certified tax preparers are experienced at finding every tax credit you qualify for to get the maximum refund available. We file almost all returns electronically so you can get your refund quickly.

Foundation Communities has helped more than 250,000 Central Texans file their taxes since 2006. In March we closed our in-person tax assistance centers due to COVID-19, but re-launched our services online in April. Our IRS-certified tax preparers now work from home and support tax clients online and through phone appointments. Read our interview with tax preparer Johnny LeBlanc to hear what socially distanced tax preparation looks like (hint: it’s basically the same, just at a safe distance).

Our free tax prep website is open 24/7, offering plenty of flexibility for those who need help with their taxes. To get started, visit https://bit.ly/GetYourRefundAustin at a convenient time and use our online questionnaire to enter your tax and household information. After you’ve uploaded your tax documents and finished the questionnaire, a tax preparer will review your information and schedule a phone appointment to go over it with you. We also have online tax prep available in Spanish here: https://www.getyourrefund.org/?new_locale=es&s=FC.

We’re offering online tax prep services through the July 15 deadline, but we encourage you to get started right away to make sure we have time to review and file your return by the deadline. Online tax preparers are available Monday – Saturday. Questions? Email us at taxes@foundcom.org or call 512-610-7374 and leave a message so that staff can return your call.

Q&A with IRS-certified Online Tax Prep Volunteer Johnny LeBlanc

May 26, 2020 | Posted in Tax Services, Financial Stability | Keywords: , , , ,

Every year Foundation Communities helps more than 20,000 Central Texans prepare and file their taxes and maximize their refund. This year we had to close in-person tax preparation due to COVID-19, but in early April we launched 100% online tax preparation through July 15. Instead of meeting with clients in person, our tax preparers are using a fully online system and meeting with clients by phone to review the tax information they submit online at Foundation Communities’ tax filing portal.

Like many, our IRS-certified tax preparers have transitioned to working from home from their usual workplace at one of the Prosper Center locations or another tax site in Austin. We chatted with Johnny LeBlanc, one of our IRS-certified tax preparers, to hear what motivates him to help Central Texans prepare and file their taxes, and how the shift from in-person to online tax prep is going.

If you still need to file your taxes and/or claim your stimulus payment, our IRS-certified team can help. Are you expecting a refund? Don’t wait! Visit Foundation Communities’ tax filing portal, or call 512-610-7374 for assistance.

How long have you been volunteering with Foundation Communities as an IRS-certified Tax Help volunteer and how did you get involved? 

I started volunteering in 2008. I don’t remember how I first heard about the Foundation Communities tax program (probably a PSA on KUT), but I attended a training session and decided to give it a try.

How did your experience volunteering build upon your previous expertise? What have you learned along the way? 

I’m a retired electrical engineer. Numbers and complexity are not intimidating to me, and I have been doing my own federal taxes for many years, so doing tax returns has been easy. Interacting with so many different people while helping them with their taxes has definitely been a different experience than that of an engineer working for a large company.

The Tax Help program typically is an in-person service, but due to COVID-19 precautions needed to switch to virtual service. What’s it like volunteering virtually? 

It’s very positive that we are still able to help folks with their taxes. Using the tax software is exactly the same as it was at the tax sites and the online platform makes it super easy to communicate with the Foundation Communities staff. The only downside is not being able to interact directly with our clients. I miss that.

What does your virtual volunteer work-from-home space set-up look like?

I’m an old nerd so I have a powerful desktop computer and a very large monitor in my home office, which makes doing virtual tax returns super easy. I have a bird feeder right outside my window so I can see the parent birds frantically trying to keep their fledglings fed and my desk is usually covered with 2 or 3 sleeping cats (often snoring) while I’m doing taxes.

What do you miss most about volunteering in-person at the tax sites? 

Interacting with the Foundation Communities staff and getting to meet our tax clients in person.

When you’re not volunteering, what do you enjoy doing? 

My main hobby is photography, I dabble at digital painting, and I also love visiting and hiking in our national parks (local parks too). I also volunteer at the Austin Animal Center where I try to help get cats adopted.

What’s the last book, movie, or TV show that made you laugh out loud? 

Big Bang Theory

Favorite treat? 

Milk chocolate

For anyone considering getting their taxes prepared virtually, but have never used a virtual service before, what would you want them to know to help them feel comfortable? 

If you are uncomfortable with using our virtual tax service, just think of it as using TurboTax but with real people to do the actual return for you and who will review and explain the return with you before it will be submitted.

Benefits of Using Free Online Tax Preparation

May 15, 2020 | Posted in Tax Services, Financial Stability | Keywords: , , , ,

For more than 15 years, Foundation Communities has welcomed community members to free tax preparation sites across the city. This year, we had to close our in-person tax prep services because of COVID-19, but we knew that thousands of people still needed help to file their taxes and claim their refunds. That’s why we’re now offering free online tax preparation from our IRS-certified tax preparers. It’s the same great service we’ve always provided, but offered online so everyone can stay safe and healthy.

 

Our free tax prep website is open 24/7 from the comfort of your home. You can start doing your taxes at any time that’s convenient for you. You’ll start by entering information about your household and finances, and you’ll upload your tax documents. Once you’re done with the online questionnaire, our IRS-certified tax preparers will review your information and give you a call. If you have questions you can call us at 512-610-7374 and leave a message with your concerns and our team will call you back.

 

Online tax prep makes it easy for us to file your return electronically and expedite your refund. We’ll file your return electronically in most cases. This is the fastest way to get your refund. The IRS is not processing paper returns due to COVID-19, and we don’t know when they will start or how long it will take for refunds to start going out. There are never any fees for our tax preparation services, and your full refund will be directly deposited to your bank account. If you need a bank account, we can help you open one.

 

You will get support from a real person who is preparing your tax return. Even though we’ve moved online, we’re offering the same support and service we offer every year. That means someone from our tax prep team will be available if you have questions about your taxes, need to update any information, or need to add a last-minute tax document.

 

We make sure you maximize your refund. Our IRS-certified tax preparers are experienced at finding every tax credit you qualify for. We carefully review your personal and household information and your tax documents to make sure you get the maximum refund available. We’ll review your tax return with you and then file electronically so you get your refund as soon as possible.

 

As we all go through this difficult period of change, we will do our best to make filing your taxes simple and convenient.

What You Need to File Your Taxes Online

May 6, 2020 | Posted in Tax Services |

Foundation Communities is offering free online tax preparation in partnership with GetYourRefund.org. When we say free we really mean free. There are no fees or deductions from your refund for our services. And online tax prep and filing is the quickest way to get your refund and stimulus check directly deposited to your bank account. 

Tax season can be a headache, but this year our IRS-certified tax preparers can help you prepare and file your taxes from home with minimal fuss. And don’t forget the tax filing deadline is now July 15 for everyone. Due to COVID-19 we have closed our in-person tax prep services and aren’t sure when we’ll be able to re-open, but we can provide you with the same great service online.

If you are expecting a refund or need help claiming your stimulus check, we urge you to file your taxes as soon as possible. We can help! Click here to get started.

If you’re expecting a refund or need to file your 2018 and/or 2019 taxes so you can claim your stimulus check, we can help you through the process. We can also help you file previous year’s taxes, if needed. 

Most IRS locations are closed due to COVID-19 and they have been unable to process paper returns. Taxpayers who file a paper return will experience long delays in getting their refund this year.

Here’s what you need to get started with online tax prep:

  • Access to a computer or phone with internet access, an email address, and a valid phone number to sign into the online tax prep website.
  • Proof of Social Security number or ITIN for everyone on the return.
  • A valid photo ID to verify your identity (also for your spouse if filing jointly).
  • All of your tax documents, such as W-2s, 1099s, 1095-A, etc. for yourself and your spouse. You will upload these documents or pictures of these documents online.

Once you have everything on the list, you can get started at bit.ly/GetYourRefundAustin. Click on the Get Started button to begin filling out your profile. If you have any problems submitting your documents, call our tax team at 512-610-7374, and they’ll call you back ASAP to help troubleshoot.

After you’ve completed your profile, a member of our tax team will give you a call to review everything with you before starting your return. Once we’ve completed your return, we’ll give you another call to review it before finalizing.

If you choose to file your return, our tax preparers will complete your return and file it with the IRS. Most people will be eligible for electronic filing, which will expedite your refund and stimulus check.

Foundation Communities will continue to offer online tax prep services through the July 15 deadline. Online tax preparers are available Monday – Saturday. Community members with questions about online tax prep or stimulus payments are encouraged to email us at taxes@foundcom.org or call 512-610-7374 and leave a message so that staff can return your call Monday – Saturday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

FAQ: What to Know About Online Tax Prep and Stimulus Checks

April 29, 2020 | Posted in Tax Services, Financial Stability, In the News | Keywords: , ,

Is free tax preparation available during COVID-19 closures?

Yes! Foundation Communities has partnered with GetYourRefund.org to offer free online tax preparation for the local community. You provide your household information and tax documents, and our IRS-certified tax preparers will complete and file your tax return. Visit bit.ly/GetYourRefundAustin to get started. We are not offering in-person tax preparation due to the coronavirus and social distancing restrictions.

When can I get help with my taxes?

Free tax prep will be available through the extended IRS filing deadline of July 15th. Our IRS-certified tax preparers are available Monday – Saturday, but you can submit your documents any time. Once you’ve submitted your tax documents online, your tax preparer will schedule a phone call with you to review everything.

Is online tax prep available in other languages?

Currently, our online tax prep site is available in English only. We are hoping to launch a Spanish version by the end of May. If you need help accessing our tax prep, you can reach our bilingual (English/Spanish) tax team at 512-610-7374.

Is there a penalty for waiting until July 15th to file my taxes?
The IRS extended the filing and payment deadline for 2019 tax returns to July 15, 2020, so there is no penalty for waiting to file. All taxpayers can take advantage of the extended deadline due to coronavirus. If you are expecting a refund, we urge you to let us help you file your tax return as soon as possible.

Will filing online make my refund come sooner?

If you are expecting a refund, we urge you to file your taxes as soon as possible and claim your refund. We are able to file your return electronically with the IRS, which is the fastest way to get your refund. Your refund will be directly deposited to your bank account. Visit bit.ly/GetYourRefundAustin to get started with free online tax prep. The IRS is not currently processing mailed paper returns because of COVID-19 closures. Filing online is the only way to ensure getting a timely refund.

Can I get help claiming my $1200 stimulus check?

Our tax preparers can help you claim your stimulus check even if you don’t need to file a tax return. If you have not filed your 2018 or 2019 tax return, filing your 2019 return is the fastest way to receive your $1,200+ economic impact payment (stimulus check) from the IRS. Use our free online tax prep services to file your tax return and expedite your stimulus payment. Funds will be directly deposited into your bank account if the IRS has your account information. In most other cases a paper check will be mailed. If you do not need to file a tax return we can help you fill out the form needed to update your address or banking information.

How do I know if I’m eligible for a stimulus check (Economic Impact Payment)?

  • U.S. citizen tax filers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment of $1200.
  • For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds.
  • There is also an additional payment of up to $500 for each eligible child.
  • Single filers with income exceeding $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers with no children are not eligible.
  • The primary taxpayer and spouse must both have a Social Security Number to get a stimulus check according to requirements in the federal CARES Act. Couples who file jointly where one has an SSN and one has an ITIN will not be able to claim any stimulus payments.

I didn’t need to file a return in 2018 or 2019 because I receive Social Security, disability (SSDI), VA benefits, or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). How can I claim my stimulus check?

Most eligible U.S. taxpayers will automatically receive their Economic Impact Payments including:

  • Social Security retirement, disability (SSDI), survivor benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Recipients of Veterans Affairs benefits
  • Individuals who receive Railroad Retirement benefits

NOTE: VA and SSI recipients with eligible children need to act by May 5 to quickly add money to their automatic Economic Impact Payment. VA and SSI recipients who have a qualifying child and didn’t file a 2018 or 2019 tax return have a limited window to register to have $500 per eligible child added automatically to their soon-to-be-received $1,200 Economic Impact Payment. Visit the special Non-Filers tool on IRS.gov by May 5 to help put all of your eligible stimulus into a single payment. Our IRS-certified tax preparers can help navigate this process.

Will you reopen your in-person tax prep before the July 15 deadline? 

We hope to reopen our Prosper Centers before July 15 to provide in-person tax prep services, but we have not yet decided how or when we can reopen. Ensuring the safety of all clients, volunteers, and staff is our highest priority. When we do reopen, it will likely be on a limited, appointment-only basis in compliance with social distancing measures.

Click here for additional information from the IRS about Economic Impact Payments

Click here for more information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about Economic Impact Payments

COVID 19 UPDATE: To protect the health of our residents and on site staff, we are need of several critical items!

April 1, 2020 | Posted in In the News | Keywords: , ,

Right now, Foundation Communities needs:

  •  – Handmade mask
  •  – Thermometers
  •  – Gloves
  •  – Clorox wipes
  •  – Hand sanitizer
  •  – Fingertip Pulse Oximeters

Please email: Kristen.Graben@foundcom.org for delivery options.

Foundation Communities Maintains and Modifies Essential Operations and Support Services in Response to COVID-19

March 13, 2020 | Posted in In the News |

Foundation Communities is maintaining essential operations and support services with modifications, in an effort to reduce the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

“The health and well-being of our residents, clients, employees, and volunteers is important to us at Foundation Communities. In an effort to reduce the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community we are following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to practice social distancing and limiting gatherings in public places,” says Aaron DeLaO, Director of Health Initiatives.

Children’s Home Initiative will continue to receive applications. Email childrenshomeinitiative@foundcom.org.

Learning Centers will follow AISD closures but will provide tools to enable students to continue learning from home.

Prosper Centers will continue to prepare tax returns using a drop-off service model.

Food pantries will remain available to residents at their normal times, with modified procedures. Please email health@foundcom.org with more questions.

The College Hub will remain open by phone only. Click here to schedule a phone appointment or email collegehub@foundcom.org.

The Health Coverage program will remain open by phone only. Students can call (512) 381-4520 to schedule a phone appointment.

Out of an abundance of caution, these closures and modified operations will remain in effect until further notice and other programs may be limited or cancelled to help keep residents and clients safe in response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Check here for frequent updates as the situation continues to change.

Foundation Communities Maintiene y Modifica Operaciones Esenciales y Servicios de Apoyo en Reacción al COVID-19

March 13, 2020 | Posted in In the News |

En reacción al nuevo coronavirus (COVID-19), Foundation Communities está manteniendo nuestros operaciones esenciales y servicios de apoyo, con modificaciones.

“La salud y el bienestar de nuestros residentes, clientes, empleados y voluntarios son importantes para nosotros en Foundation Communities. En un esfuerzo a reducir la propagación del nuevo coronavirus (COVID-19) en nuestra comunidad, estamos siguiendo las recomendaciones de los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC) y la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS) para practicar el distanciamiento social y limitar las reuniones en áreas públicas,” dice Aaron DeLaO, Director de Iniciativas de Salud.

Puede enviar las solicitudes para Children’s Home Initiative a childrenshomeinitiative@foundcom.org.

Los Learning Centers sigue los cierres de AISD, pero vamos a dar recursos para que los estudiantes pueden continuar sus educación en sus propias casas.

Los Prosper Centers continuará preparando declaraciones de impuestos, pero solo aceptará los documents dejado en sitio.

Las despensas de comida en sitios residenciales permanecerá disponible a los residentes al tiempo normal, pero con procedimientos modificados. Puede enviar las preguntas a health@foundcom.org.

La College Hub continuará aceptar las citas por teléfono. Haz clic aquí para obtener cita por teléfono o puede enviar las preguntas a collegehub@foundcom.org.

La programa de seguro de salud continuará aceptar las citas por teléfono. Llama a (512) 381-4520 para obtener una cita por teléfono.

Por precaución, estos cierres y operaciones modificadas permanecerán en efecto hasta próximo aviso y otros programas pueden ser limitados o cancelados para ayudar a mantener la salud y seguridad a nuestros residentes y clientes en respuesta al Nuevo Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Consulte aquí las actualizaciones frecuentes a medida que la situación cambia.

Stand Up and Be Counted

March 10, 2020 | Posted in Get Involved, Volunteer, In the News | Keywords: ,

Did you know that the census happens once every 10 years, is required by law to complete and that your responses will shape our community’s future?

Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to support medical assistance and healthcare programs, housing assistance, supplemental food and nutrition programs, highway planning and construction, education programs and more.

Who is counted? EVERYONE! Your answers to the survey are safe and everyone should be counted regardless of citizenship or immigration status.

Foundation Communities has a team of trained volunteers working to make sure our residents and tax program clients understand the impact and importance of the census and are counted.

For more information, contact Nikki.Krueger@foundcom.org.

FC Doubles Solar Capacity in Four Years

September 25, 2019 | Posted in Green Building, Affordable Housing, Housing | Keywords: , , ,

Kermit the Frog may have said it best: “It’s not easy being green.” Building green may have its challenges, but Foundation Communities has continued to find ways to build beautiful, affordable housing for residents in need, while allowing us to continue to let our green-side shine through.

We have made great strides in our green building initiatives, said Katelynn Essig, Foundation Communities’ sustainability manager. Since 2014, we have more than doubled our solar capacity and now have nearly 1.1 Megawatts installed across 14 properties.

“We have saved enough greenhouse gas emissions, it’s like removing 4,300 cars from the road for one year!” Essig said. “We beat our goal to reach 1 Megawatt of installed solar 2 years early and are excited to see what unfolds as we continue to build beautiful, green, affordable housing.”

With our newest community, The Jordan at Mueller, opening later in 2019 and Waterloo Terrace, now under construction along MoPac Expressway near The Domain, we will continue to add to our green building and solar energy initiatives.

Read more about our green values.