Goodwill to offer free tax assistance
DeKALB – Officials announced Thursday that DeKalb's Goodwill store will be a volunteer income tax assistance site to help low-income residents file tax returns this year.
Sam Schmitz, president of Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois, called Thursday a "landmark" day, as the nonprofit organization announced its partnership with Northern Illinois University, Kishwaukee United Way and others to assist residents.
The program offers free tax preparation for families with income of less than $50,000 per year and individuals that make less than $25,000 per year, Schmitz said. Goodwill hopes to handle 200 returns this year and grow to filing 500 in the future.
The site will be open Thursdays from noon-8 p.m. beginning Jan. 26 through April 14, Schmitz said.
More than 30 students from NIU's accountancy program have signed up to handle the returns, said Denise Schoenbachler, dean of the university's College of Business. The partnership is mutually beneficial, she said, since students need experience handling tax returns and the low-income community could use the free tax preparation.
Often, those who are eligible for the earned income tax credit do not claim it, said Judy Brooks, with the Chicago office of the Internal Revenue Service. The volunteer tax assistance site at Goodwill will be another opportunity to raise awareness of the program and help those eligible for the credit get it.
Because the service is free, Schmitz also said they hope to help people avoid predatory tax preparers or those who would try to scam them during the filing process. He said they hope to assist the community for years to come.
"We're here for the long haul," he said.
Dawn Littlefield, executive director of Kishwaukee United Way, brought up the newly created DeKalb County CA$H (Creating Assets, Savings and Hope) Coalition, which provides financial education tools and resources, and said the partnership is a natural fit, as the organization sought a vehicle for reaching low-income residents.
The area is fortunate to have the collaboration among the university, business community and social service network to assist the low-income residents of the area, DeKalb Mayor Kris Povlsen said.
If you have any technical difficulties, either with your username and password or with the payment options, please contact us by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org