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Agencies offer free tax preparation service

By Ingrid Ferlo –

Meghan Barp

Meghan Barp

Tracy Fischman

Tracy Fischman

For Minnesotans who are having trouble filling out their tax returns, the United Way and Prepare and Prosper are offering their help.

“This supports our goal of ensuring that we create pathways out of poverty for low and moderate income families,” said Meghan Barp, senior vice president of Greater Twin Cities United Way.

United Way is partnering with Prepare and Prosper for the 11th year to help people from the Twin Cities to file for tax returns.

Barp and Tracy Fischman, executive director of Prepare and Prosper were recently guests on “Conversations with Al McFarlane” on KFAI 90.3 FM. The show airs every Tuesday at 9 a.m. and reaches audiences globally on www.kfai.org.

Barp said they seek to make filing for taxes a “celebratory” event while Fishman said tax returns are a way to alleviate poverty in moderate income families. The partnership also helps families in budget planning.

“It is also a time where many households receive more money back through these refunds than any other time of the year, so we do a lot to facilitate opportunities to save for a rainy day, catch up on rent and other expenses,” said Fishman.

Show host Al McFarlane pointed out that tax returns are normally received with mental resistance and fear by people who do not understand the process. That is why the United Way and Prepare and Prosper partnership held a “taxaton” to educate clients and guide them through the process of filing their taxes.

Prepare and Prosper trains hundreds of volunteers on the tax code to help to their clients – a service that is offered for free. Prepare and Prosper is located at the Court West Building, 2610 University Ave. W. in St. Paul. Those interested in the free service can call (651) 291-0211 or (651) 287-0187 to schedule an appointment.

The partnership between United Way and Prepare and Prosper is supported by the Minnesota Department of Revenue. Tax services are available year-round.

According to United Way’s records, more than 300,000 households have benefited from the free tax return service.

February 14, 2017
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