Press Release
Record Numbers Seek Tax Assistance in 2008
More than 11,000 Call the Local Earned Income Tax Credit Hotline

Dayton, OH, April 14, 2008
- The phone has been literally ringing off the hook at United Way of the Greater Dayton Area's HelpLink 2-1-1 since mid-January. More than 11,000 local residents have called the special hotline over the past three months to learn more about free local tax preparation sites and the federal economic stimulus payments.

Sandy Williams, Director of HelpLink, attributes the record number of calls this year to more people filing in order to receive the economic stimulus payments, as well as to the distribution of more posters and flyers at area nonprofits and businesses that increased awareness of the hotline.

The majority of callers (more than 8,500) listened to the recorded message explaining eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit and directing them to ten local free tax preparation sites. In addition, 2,473 callers opted to speak to HelpLink 2-1-1 staff for more information. HelpLink staff made appointments for 1,332 of the callers to receive free tax preparation services at The Job Center, Community Action Partnership, and Sinclair Community College.

United Way's HelpLink 2-1-1 has provided a dedicated phone line for the EITC Coalition outreach efforts, spearheaded by Dayton City Commissioner Dean Lovelace, since 2002. This was the first year that HelpLink scheduled tax preparation appointments. The local coalition promotes the Earned Income Tax Credit to low-income working individuals and families, to help them take advantage of federal tax credits and avoid the dangers of quick loan offers that prey on low-income workers and carry hidden costs.

The goal for 2008 was to increase the number of tax returns filed at the free sites to 2,400 from the 2,250 filed in 2007. As of April 6, 78 volunteers at the ten sites in Montgomery County had transmitted more than 2,675 returns, totaling $1,321,300 in Earned Income Tax Credit refunds. The coalition also prepared more than 60 Economic Stimulus Payment returns.

"United Way is proud to have assisted in this financial stability outreach effort that returned more than $1.3 million to the pockets of hard-working families," United Way President Marc R. Levy said. "The additional dollars may provide relief for families under serious economic stress, enabling them to pay back bills, avert utility shut-offs, eviction or foreclosure, buy groceries and cover childcare, automobile and other household expenses." 
To schedule an interview or arrange a photo shoot at HelpLink, contact Jayne Klose at (937) 225-3036 or Sandy Williams at (937) 910-6010. 
Open Your Heart
Lend Your Voice
Share Your Strength
Get Help