Tax season has just begun, and thousands of Ohioans will begin filing their 2015 taxes in the hopes of a sizable refund. To save taxpayers a little extra money this year, a group of Hiram College accounting students called “Hiram College Tax Volunteers” is partnering with the Ohio Association of Foodbanks to offer free tax filing assistance through The Ohio Benefit Bank.
The Ohio Benefit Bank (OBB) is an innovative online service that connects Ohioans with more than 20 work support programs and tax credits, including the Earned Income Credit, child tax credits and education credits. Ohioans can file their federal and state taxes for free with a trained counselor through organizations like Hiram College Tax Volunteers, or they can file on their own at: www.ohiobenefits.org.
The average Earned income Tax Credit (EITC) is about $2,170, yet approximately one in six Ohioans eligible for the EITC do not claim it. Clients using the OBB can maximize their return without having to pay a high fee to have their taxes completed and e-filed.
“The Hiram College Tax Volunteers is not only a worthwhile way for our accounting students to gain practical experience in putting their business course learning to work, but also gives them an opportunity to give back to the community at large,” said Richard Mole, CPA, assistant professor of accounting at Hiram College and the Volunteers’ mentor. “It is the fourth year in the last six that Hiram College has partnered with the Ohio Benefit Bank in bringing this program to the public.”
The free tax assistance will be available to most families with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $95,000 or less. If clients choose to receive their refund by direct deposit, they can receive their refund in as little as few as 10 days.
Residents interested in making an appointment to have their taxes filed or to complete other benefit applications can call 207.653.0674 or e-mail Abbey Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org. Appointments are available on Saturdays throughout tax season (until April 18) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Hiram College’s Kennedy Center on Garfield Road in Hiram.
Community members interested in volunteering as OBB counselors are welcome to call Mole at 330.569.6214 or Martin Terry, Ohio Benefit Bank program manager, at 614.221.4336 ext. 362.
About Hiram College Tax Volunteers
Hiram College’s Tax Volunteers are a group of juniors and seniors who volunteer their time to assist those needing help to complete their federal and Ohio state income tax filing. All of the student counselors have been trained and certified in income tax preparation by the Ohio Benefit Bank prior to be naming counselors for the OBB program. The students are closely monitored and supervised at all times by a Hiram College professor from the Accounting Department.
About the Ohio Association of Foodbanks
The Ohio Association of Foodbanks is Ohio’s largest charitable response to hunger, representing Ohio’s 12 Feeding America foodbanks and 3,300 member charities including food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters. In 2015, the association and its member foodbanks were able to acquire and distribute over 164 million pounds of food and grocery items. The association also serves as the home of The Ohio Benefit Bank. Follow the association on Twitter, stay connected on Facebook and visit them on the web at www.ohiofoodbanks.org.