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United Way’s RealSense Initiative Offers Free Tax Preparation at Super Saturday Event

February 14, 2015

United Way RealSense Director Jeff Winkler presents Ophelia Webb with a gas card door prize during the RealSense Super Saturday event Feb. 14.  Webb completed her taxes for free at the Gateway Mall CareerSource site and plans to put her tax refund toward starting her own business.
United Way RealSense Director Jeff Winkler presents Ophelia Webb with a gas card door prize during the RealSense Super Saturday event Feb. 14. Webb completed her taxes for free at the Gateway Mall CareerSource site and plans to put her tax refund toward starting her own business.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It was a Super Saturday for more than 250 hardworking families who completed their taxes for free at several RealSense tax sites today. Community partners and financial service providers came together to help local families beat the upcoming tax and health care enrollment deadlines.

United Way’s RealSense volunteer tax preparers are IRS-certified and trained to help clients obtain their maximum refund, directing clients to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and other credits for which they may not be aware they qualify.

“Ensuring that eligible families receive the Earned Income Tax Credit can make a big difference in their lives and financial situations,” said Deborah Pierson, RealSense volunteer chair and senior vice president of enterprise business and community engagement at Bank of America. “RealSense volunteers are setting up individuals and families for long-term success and financial stability.”

A generous grant provided by the Walmart Foundation also enabled local residents to file their taxes online at computer stations that offered access to MyFreeTaxes.com. Funded by the Walmart Foundation and operated in partnership with Goodwill Industries International, the National Disability Institute and United Way, MyFreeTaxes.com is the only free online platform that can be used to file federal and state taxes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“Previously, I was getting my taxes done at other places, which were not professional like RealSense, and spending about $300 or $400. It was just too much for me,” said Iris Royal, who filed her taxes at the CareerSource office in the Gateway Mall. “Now, I’m getting my taxes prepared for free. I’m having RealSense for two years straight now.”

Other vendors were also available to provide important services, such as health care enrollment before the February 15 deadline and free credit reports.

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About RealSense
RealSense is a coalition of agencies, nonprofits and local businesses working in partnership to improve the financial stability of Northeast Florida residents. Since 2003, RealSense brought more than $52 million in EITC federal dollars into the local community. More information can be found at www.unitedwaynefl.org/realsense.

About United Way
United Way focuses on education, income and health – the building blocks to a good life. The organization supports measurable solutions to ensure children enter school ready to learn, students stay on track to graduation, families achieve financial stability and people have the tools to lead healthy, productive lives. More information can be found at: www.unitedwaynefl.org.