LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Inside the Louisville Urban League Headquarters on West Broadway, local and state leaders urged the public to apply for earned income tax credits Friday.
"This is not charity. This is your money. It belongs to you," said Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson. "Twenty percent of eligible Kentucky workers are still not filling out the documentation."
The earned income tax credit is designed to help low to moderate income families keep more of what they have earned. Individuals making $50,000 or less annually may qualify.
To help boost applications Friday morning, agencies including the Urban League and Louisville Asset Building Coalition teamed with community organizations to staff the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program free of charge.
"The demand is great," said Portland Promise Center Outreach Coordinator Eurana Horton who runs VITA services at the neighborhood center.
According to Horton, so many people turned out for the priceless tax service she and her staff had to set a limit.
"We could have up to 70 people in one session and it's only three hours," said Horton. "I only have three volunteers today, so we had to cut it back to about 30 this morning."
The Portland Promise Center is just one of more than two dozen locations offering the free tax help.
"We now have 27 sites throughout the city," said Mayor Greg Fischer during the Urban League press conference. "They're located at churches, universities, city government buildings, nonprofit groups."
Having recently taken advantage of the VITA program, Louisville mother of five Elisha Jordan said it helped save her hundreds.
"Last year," began Jordan, "I paid almost $400 to have my taxes prepared."
Community leaders, however, said the savings do not have to stop there.
"If you've got a family of three or more and you're making $50,000 or so, you can get back $6,000," said Abramson.
Mayor Fischer said those savings can benefit not only families in need, but the community as well.
"We have returned $82 million into the community," said Fischer. "It's recirculated and obviously helped a lot of people in a lot of different ways."
350 volunteers will donate 20,000 hours of their time to carry out this year's VITA program at the following metro Louisville locations:
For a list of what documents to bring to your VITA appointment, click here.
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