Annual tax program helps with lost credit

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- United Way partnered with St. Bernards to kick off their 4th annual Cash Event.

The event provided free tax help and assistance with filing a return. The program started four years ago when an IRS agent informed United Way staff members that about $4 million in Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) was never claimed by Jonesboro residents.

Paula Robertson, the community impact coordinator for United Way, says the credit really benefits working families.

"It's very important that people understand," Robertson said. "Especially working families that there is an earned income tax credit out there and it is due to them and all they have to do is file to get it."

Anyone who works and earns less that $50,270 is qualified for EITC. For people who do not have children, the credit could add an additional $475 to a return. United Way offers free help preparing tax returns.

Over 125 tax returns were prepared last year and Robertson said they hope to reach about 200 this year.

Heart screenings were also offered at the Cash Event in honor of Heart Month. Amanda McMillon, community educator for St.Bernards, says these screenings are key to maintaining a healthy heart.

"Getting screened is really important," McMillon said. "For our heart health because we have to know what our numbers are, know our blood pressure and cholesterol, glucose, diabetes puts us at risk for heart disease as well."

McMillion says it's important to maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly and watch out for sodium.

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