Ohio's first free 'My Refund Day' on Feb. 2 offers tax assistance to seniors and others

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In addition to free tax assistance throughout tax season, the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, along with partners AARP and the IRS VITA program, will provide free tax filing assistance.

This will take place on Saturday, Feb. 2, as part of Ohio's first Free My Refund Day.

Ohio's Free My Refund Day is a statewide effort to make free tax filing available during weekend hours to accommodate working families.

This event is also sponsored by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation Services Commission, and the Ohio Family and Children First Council.

The Ohio Association of Foodbanks, home of The Ohio Benefit Bank, is proud to participate and is now making referrals to participating sites throughout Ohio. Ohioans can also search by zip code for a participating site nearby through an online map.

According to the Brookings Institute, 15 to 20 percent of tax filers who are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit don't claim it. Yet according to the IRS, the average EITC in Ohio is $2,170.

This means that an estimated $2.5 billion in federal EITC funds goes unclaimed by Ohioans each year. Ohio's Free My Refund Day will help to connect more working families with the EITC and will help all eligible taxpayers keep their full tax refunds.

"We believe that every Ohioan deserves to hold on to their full tax refund, because it's money they have earned," said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. "Our goal is to put more federal money into the pockets of our neighbors and friends to help them put food on the table, pay bills, build their savings, and grow the local economy."

Most Ohio taxpayers with annual household incomes of less than $60,000 are eligible to file their taxes for free with The Ohio Benefit Bank. Taxpayers will need to bring certain documents with them to file their taxes, including wage statements, prior tax forms, and personal identification information.

Free tax assistance is available through The Ohio Benefit Bank throughout tax season, including up to three years of back taxes. Taxpayers can also file their federal, state and school district taxes on their own from any computer with Internet access by visiting The Ohio Benefit Bank at www.ohiobenefits.org.

For more information, call 1-800-648-1176, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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