Mom Finds Good Match With Free Tax Prep

Jennifer, a physician’s assistant and Franklin resident visited our tax prep station at GraceWorks Ministries for assistance and saved hundreds of dollars in tax prep and filing fees.

This tax season, our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program partnered with seven organizations across Williamson, Maury, and Hickman Counties to make tax preparation more accessible to the community. VITA helped Jennifer— along with 2,100 other filers— submit their federal and state income returns without charge.

Thirty-eight (IRS-certified) VITA Free Tax Prep volunteers were available to help people of all backgrounds maximize their refunds and forgo the expense of tax prep and filing fees. Overall, each filer saved an average of $210 in fees. These savings are especially vital to families with tight monthly budgets and fixed incomes. In total, volunteers filed 1,742 tax returns, resulting in $1,600,317 in refunds coming back to local residents.

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Jennifer’s Story
Jennifer is an Indianapolis native. She relocated to Middle Tennessee six years ago and especially enjoys the warm weather and spending time with her kids at area parks. She worked in her field for several years before leaving the workforce to become a stay-at-home mom.

IJHFamily 300x300 - Mom Finds Good Match with Free Tax Prepn the past, Jennifer used do-it-yourself tax preparation software to file her returns. This year, however, due to life changes, selling a home, and working multiple part-time jobs, her tax situation had become more complicated. “I tried TurboTax and was about to have a heart attack.”

She caught wind of United Way’s Free Tax Prep from signs in the Williamson County Public Library and decided that free tax assistance best complemented her circumstances. “I didn’t know what to expect going in,” Jennifer says. “You hear free and wonder ‘what kind of service will I get for free?’”

Across Tennessee, VITA programs are a powerful vehicle for delivering high-quality tax preparation in urban and rural communities. Our VITA program is also an avenue for matching residents with effective, community-based United Way partner programs that can steer a family’s path to financial stability.

Initially, Jennifer was uncomfortable at the tax prep site. “I wasn’t sure if I belonged there.” John, a friendly tax prep greeter, welcomed Jennifer and got her started on the paperwork. And then Chris, a seasoned volunteer tax preparer, went through Jennifer’s documents line by line to maximize her credits. Afterward, a tax reviewer ensured the accuracy of all filings. “I felt like I was getting the best service available. It was the best tax service I’ve got in my life.”

  • Read all about Chris and John’s volunteer work here.
  • It’s never too late (or too soon) to become a Free Tax Prep volunteer. You can get free training to fill various volunteer roles. Learn more here.
  • Missed the tax filing deadline? You are welcome to file for free online. Visit myfreetaxes.com for details and eligibility.