LIFT-Evanston will offer free tax preparation services to low-income individuals and families starting later this month.

The service is staffed by trained student volunteers from Northwestern University.

The tax advocates will help clients prepare and submit tax returns online, in addition to identifying eligibility for valuable tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit. LIFT-Evanston is the only IRS-certified Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site in Evanston.

Tax preparation services will be offered from Jan. 28 through April 13, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with extended hours until 7 p.m. on Tuesdays. It will also operate from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on  Saturdays, Jan. 28, Feb. 11, Feb. 25, March 3, March 31 and April 7.

The LIFT-Evanston office is located in the Faith Temple Church at 1932 Dewey Ave.

Clients who file their taxes with paid preparers can spend as much as 20 percent of their refunds on fees or if they try to prepare their taxes independently, they may receive a much smaller refund. The refunds and credits place money directly into the pockets of struggling families, which converts to better economic and social health of local communities.

In addition to giving people a significant economic boost, LIFT’s tax advocates gain experience in preparing taxes, understanding tax code, and strengthening their financial literacy.

For more information and to schedule an appointment, contact LIFT-Evanston at (847) 491-6707.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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