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Tax Season Begins, Ohio Benefit Bank Ready to Crunch Numbers

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In 2017, The Ohio Benefit Bank helped people prepare more than 60,000 federal, state and local tax returns. (401(k) 2012/Flickr)
In 2017, The Ohio Benefit Bank helped people prepare more than 60,000 federal, state and local tax returns. (401(k) 2012/Flickr)
 By Mary KuhlmanContact
January 29, 2018

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The tax filing season officially begins Monday and Ohioans who need help crunching the numbers may qualify for free assistance.

The Ohio Benefit Bank offers free online and in-person tax-prep services for married couples filing jointly with annual incomes up to $95,000, and some individual tax filers.

Martin Terry, associate director of work support initiatives for Ohio Association of Foodbanks, which operates the OBB, says his organization is happy to relieve some of the stress of tax season and beyond.

"We hear people that are just overjoyed that they don't have to pay $200, $300, $400 to have their taxes filed,” he states. “Another great thing about the Benefit Bank is we're not just a tax filing tool. We also connect people to work-support programs, SNAP, Medicaid. We also help people with energy assistance."

In 2017, The Ohio Benefit Bank helped people prepare more than 60,000 federal and state tax returns, a number Terry maintains will be even higher this year.

Ohioans can go to ohiobenefits.org to make an appointment with a trained tax preparer or to file online.

Since 2006, the OBB has saved Ohioans an estimated $35 million in tax preparation fees.

And Terry adds The Ohio Benefit Bank can also help tax filers boost their returns by determining eligibility for tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit.

"I think our average EITC hovered around $3,000,” he points out. “So it's definitely a lot of money and it's a time when families are behind on bills, energy bills are higher during the winter, holiday bills are coming in, credit card bills are due, so it's really a big shot in the arm for families, that's for sure."

More than 960,000 Ohioans have gained access to tax credits and work supports worth nearly $2 billion since The Ohio Benefit Bank's inception.


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