The record that was broken in 2009 was completely shattered this year: Community College of Aurora volunteers participating in the 2010 Tax Help Colorado program filed more than 1,000 tax returns for low-income taxpayers, and more than $2.3 million in refunds will be returned to the Aurora community as a result.
As participants in the program, trained volunteers at CCA prepared and e-filed taxes for eligible individuals and families free of charge from late January through mid March. At the program’s conclusion, volunteers processed 1,007 tax returns, and refunds totaled $2,374,405—double the number of families and individuals served last year and more than double the $1,004,361 in refunds realized. CCA’s participation in 2010 marks the first time a Tax Help Colorado site has completed more than 1,000 returns.
“Tax Help Colorado is truly a win-win program for all involved,” said Tamra Schmitt, coordinator of the program for CCA. “The taxpayers benefit by avoiding tax preparation fees and working with friendly, well-qualified preparers. The volunteers benefit by providing a useful community service, while at the same time gaining valuable hands-on tax preparation experience.” Schmitt added that “it is very rewarding to see how our positive reputation has brought more and more taxpayers to seek our services each year, resulting in such tremendous growth.” She said that “a pretty impressive” 1,223 volunteer hours went into the preparation of the returns this year.
Eleven sites participated in Tax Help Colorado this year, including six Colorado community colleges. A service of the Piton Foundation, the program helps families save hundreds of dollars they might otherwise pay to standard tax accountants to file their income taxes. Nearly 3,800 low-income taxpayers benefited from the service across all tax sites this year, and approximately $8 million in refunds are expected.
Volunteers this year included CCA students who completed a tax preparation course at the college that prepared them to achieve certification by the Internal Revenue Service.