Tax Help Colorado
A partnership between The Piton Foundation and the Colorado Community College System that was launched in 2007, Tax Help Colorado offers free tax preparation services to individuals who make less than $50,000, helping to ease the burden of commercial tax preparation costs on low-wage earners while ensuring that families with children claim tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. The program utilizes community college students who take an accredited course on income tax preparation then operate free tax sites on their campuses for college credit. Over the past six years, the program has expanded statewide with 16 participating colleges operating 26 free tax sites in communities across Colorado.
Tax HELP COLORADO 2013 RESULTS
During the 2013 tax season, Tax Help Colorado provided free tax preparation assistance to more than 9,200 individuals. In addition, it processed 236 prior-year returns, bringing the total number of returns prepared to 9,444, which is a 35% increase over last year. Tax Help Colorado helped families claim more than $18.5 million in tax refunds in 2013, including nearly $6.8 million from the Earned Income Tax Credit, and it saved low-income taxpayers nearly $2 million in commercial tax preparation fees.
FREE TAX SITES LOCATED ACROSS COLORADO
The 16 colleges participating in Tax Help Colorado operate 26 free tax sites statewide, where hundreds of IRS-certified students prepare and e-file tax returns free of charge for low-income taxpayers.
The following colleges currently participate in Tax Help Colorado:
community college partnership
Tax Help Colorado launched in 2007 at the Community College of Aurora, with CCA students taking the income tax class in the fall semester and operating a free tax site on the Lowry campus in the spring of 2008. Between 2008 and 2013, 15 more colleges joined the program, including two four-year colleges. In addition, high school students from at least two high schools will operate free tax sites on their campuses in the coming year.
To participate in Tax Help Colorado, students at partner colleges take an accredited course on income tax preparation during the fall semester. This course gives them IRS certification to do income tax preparation. In the spring semester, the IRS-certified students operate free tax sites at their colleges, for which they receive college credit. Trained volunteers from the community sometimes work at the tax sites as well. Community colleges were chosen as Tax Help Colorado partners because they have campuses across the state, including rural areas, which allows the service to be available statewide.
The college students that participate in Tax Help Colorado receive real world experience preparing tax returns, which is attractive to potential future employers. Participating in the program also offers students exposure to careers in the accounting field, and it offers them a strong community service experience. To read a testimonial from a student who participated in Tax Help Colorado, please click here.