AU students help working families save money on tax preparation through SaveFirst

AUBURN – Through SaveFirst, a tax preparation and financial literacy initiative of Impact Alabama, Auburn University students recently spent six weeks in Auburn and Montgomery helping to provide free income tax preparation services for working families.

This service is designed to assist families eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, those working families who make less than $40,000 a year with children in the home or $20,000 a year without children in the home.

This tax season, AU students worked at tax preparation sites that prepared more than 330 tax returns for a total of $365,000 in tax refunds and a savings of $64,000 in commercial preparation fees.

Impact Alabama is a student service initiative, and many of the AU students helping with the SaveFirst program this year were fulfilling a service-learning requirement for an honors American government course taught by Steven Brown in the College of Liberal Arts. Other students received credit through a finance course taught by Claire Crutchley in the College of Business. The 2008 tax season presented the first year of collaboration between Auburn University and Impact Alabama.

Each year, more than 481,000 families in Alabama claim an estimated $1 billion through the federal Earned Income Tax Credit. However, these same families lose $72 million to tax preparation and refund anticipation loan costs. Auburn University students who participated in the SaveFirst service learning project helped to ensure that low-income families received their full tax benefits and credits.

Impact Alabama’s SaveFirst Initiative is in its second year of operation and this year trained approximately 275 college, graduate and law students from 11 campuses across the state to provide free tax preparation services in seven cities, as well as financial literacy information and opportunities for economic improvement to working families.

Impact Alabama is the state’s first nonprofit organization dedicated to developing and implementing substantive service-learning projects in coordination with colleges and universities across Alabama. Impact Alabama presents a vision of Alabama in which its young citizens understand, appreciate, and engage actively in civic life-contributing their diverse talents to solve local and state problems, influence public policy, and pursue the common good.

For more information, or to join our effort, please contact Stephen Black, President of Impact Alabama, at sblack@impactalabama.org.

Contact: Victoria Santos, (334) 844-7186 (santovr@auburn.edu), or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)