Free tax help available for Houston-area residents at Neighborhood Centers Inc.

February 4, 2013 8:29:00 PM PST
You probably don't want to think about it, but April 15 is just 70 days away. If you need help getting your taxes filed, there are free resources in the Houston area.

For example, you could pay a couple of hundred dollars to get your taxes done, or you could go to Neighborhood Centers Inc. and get the same service for free.

With a refund coming from his 2012 tax return, Sloan Hood is a happy man.

"It's great," he said. "It's been excellent. It's been pain-free."

Making things even better, Hood's returns were filed free of charge. He says the volunteer tax preparers at Neighborhood Centers did a better job than people he has paid in the past.

"They got us back a lot more in our return than I thought we would get," Hood said.

Over the last four years, Neighborhood Centers has filed 104,000 returns free of charge, bringing back $125 million in refunds.

Most taxpayers qualify for the service.

"We serve families that earn up to $50,000 per year or single individuals with no dependents that earn up to $30,000 a year," said Elizabeth Ferar with Neighborhood Centers.

Ferar says even with the income requirement, the bulk of Houston residents can qualify for free tax help.

"That's the majority of working Houston, statistically, and that is also the majority of working America," Ferar said.

The volunteer preparers can help with 1040, 1040A, 104EZ, all the schedules and some small business.

"As long as they don't have an inventory or cost of goods sold or have had a loss," Ferar said.

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