Free income tax preparation offered here Saturday to working persons earning less than $50,270 the past year netted a return of appreciation from and financial savings for the service’s recipients.
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Super Saturday event was held at the Donald W. Reynolds Community Services Center.
The assistance was offered by the Pine Bluff Wealth Building Coalition in conjunction with the Interested Citizens for Voter Registration, Internal Revenue Service, Southeast Arkansas College, Simmons First National Bank, Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Economic Opportunity Commission, Arkansas Community Organizations and the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.
Local resident Jamie Kentle, 36, a secretary with Pine Bluff Wastewater Utility, said she had previously paid as much as $300 to for tax preparation with a firm here.
“I expect a return this year, and I’ll be saving the preparation fee as well,” she said as she awaited her turn with an IRS representative. “That’ll be money in my pocket.”
Kentle called the service a “good money saver and community service” and said she would like to see “more services like this within the city. “This is a big help to me and I’m sure it would be for anyone using the service,” she said. “I read about it in The Commercial and heard about it at work, too.”
Rev. Jesse Turner, executive director of ICVR, said he was especially pleased that Mayor Debe Hollingsworth had actively “urged residents to take advantage” of the service offering, which is now in its sixth year.
“We’ve had a growing number of people participating,” he said. “I’ve noticed there are many more Hispanics receiving the service. There’s been a lot of people coming in, young and old.”
Turner said service appointments will be available starting Monday.
Lorrell Goods, 29, of Pine Bluff, a dump truck driver with the city’s street department, said she had learned of the service from co-workers.
“This will really help me,” she said, noting that she had paid up to $200 for previous tax preparations.
Her mother, 59-year-old Debra Morris, is a professional clown. She said she had been unaware of the free service, which she estimated would “save a lot of time and money.”
“It makes sense to want to save money in this day and time,” she said. “I just wish more people knew about it. I found out about it from my daughter.”