Taxes made easy as one, two, free

With more and more people working multiple jobs to make ends meet throughout the year, preparing your taxes can be overwhelming and time consuming. I myself had a few side jobs in 2013. With five W-2 statements and a few 1098-E forms, I wanted a second look at my return. 

I was looking forward to using my tax return to pay off a few bills and start saving, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t overpay for tax preparation.

There are so many choices  for  tax preparation and I quickly realized that most charge a fee of some sort.  Since I was looking forward to using my tax return to pay off a few bills and start saving for the future, I wanted to make sure I didn’t overpay for this service.

While watching KXAN one morning, I heard about a Community Tax Center (CTC) that offered free tax preparation for eligible families. I quickly went online to find out the requirements and how I could take advantage of free tax preparation. Community Tax Centers, a program of Foundation Communities that is supported by UWATX, provides free tax preparation for households making up to $50,000, with the income limits being slightly higher for households of five or more.   

I made an appointment with a Community Tax Center near me. With my Tax Prep Checklist provided by CTC and documents in hand, I headed to the east Austin location.  During the quick and easy check-in process the Intake Volunteer checked to make sure that I had all the proper documents and asked me fill out a quick two page form. 

Within minutes I was escorted by Michelle, a University of Texas Accounting student who is volunteering with CTC, to her desk and we begin the tax preparation process. While looking over my documents, Michelle explained the process and everything that she was doing. After only 20 minutes, I was headed out the door with my filed 2013 Tax Return. 

With four Austin locations and one location in Round Rock, all CTC locations are open Monday-Saturday and a few are even open on Sunday. Although appointments are not necessary, I highly recommend scheduling an appointment if possible. All locations accept walk-ins, but keep in mind you could be waiting up to an hour or more to be seen.

If you don’t have time to wait and no available appointments fit your busy schedule, you are welcome to drop off your tax documents and a volunteer with CTC will call you within five days or less to come back to pick them up.  There is no reason why an eligible household should be paying for their tax preparation this year!

Taxpayers can call the UWATX Navigation Center (2-1-1) for more information on locations, hours and what documents to bring, or visit Foundation Communities website at


UWATX supports community tax prep in a variety of ways – we partner with tax centers through our Financial Opportunity program, connect individuals to the service through our Navigation Center, promote free tax prep resources online and recruit volunteers to serve as tax preparers through our Hands On Central Texas program, Austin’s largest volunteer network. 

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