By Garrett Turner
Channel 2 News
3:14 PM AKST, January 28, 2013
The United Way, the IRS, the AARP and other groups have teamed up to provide Anchorage with a free tax preparation program. Online or E-Tax returns can't be filed until Jan. 31st but that's not stopping people like Christian Blalock from taking advantage of the free service.
"It saved me about one hundred and fifty bucks," Blalock said. "Basically, I was going to go to another place where I was going to have to pay to get my taxes done and having it done for free not only saves me money but time because it wasn't that long here."
Blalock attended the program's first Super Saturday of the year. The remaining two Super Saturday's will be Feb. 16 at the Salvation Army Community Center in midtown and April 6 at the Crosspoint Community Church in south Anchorage.
"When you come to Super Saturday you can talk to representatives form the banking community about opening up a savings account you can talk to providers about debt management and budgeting, you can talk about affordable housing and other providers that are here that can talk about all sorts of resources," program coordinator Maureen Haggblom said.
Most of the free tax sites will open their doors starting Feb. 1. These sites have numerous volunteers preparing basic returns in efforts to give the Anchorage community more money in their pockets.
"With that free return, they get all their return money back," program volunteer Jan Watson said. "And that money will go back into the community. We've had tax payers say, "thank you so much. We can buy clothes for my kid for winter or shoes or maybe school equipment so our free tax service is very helpful to the community."
This free tax service has a proven formula and has had success in the past.
"Last year, this group alone was able to save over $800,000 in tax preparation fees," Haggblom said. "They prepared almost 6,000 returns. There was somewhere between $9 and 10 million in refunds returned to the people that had their taxes done at the tax sites."
It's a successful program that helps Alaskans break down the numbers during what can be a stressful time.Editor's Note: Clarifies 3rd graph with additional date of second Super Saturday, which will happen April 6 at Crosspoint Community Church in South Anchorage.
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