Want to Help Families Survive the Economy? Volunteer.

Dec 06, 2010, 11:00 ET from Center for Economic Progress

Volunteers needed to help offer free tax and financial services to low-income Illinois families

CHICAGO, Dec. 6, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With debt, foreclosures, unemployment and heating costs on the rise, low-income families are falling behind financially—and fast. To help bring some relief during the upcoming tax season, the Center for Economic Progress (CEP) is recruiting volunteers to help bring free tax and financial services to families who need them most.

With little tax training, low‐income families are among the most likely to leave money on the table at tax time. They're also those who can least afford to do so. Many are simply unaware of credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Child Tax Credit (CTC), which can be equal to more than two months pay for a low‐income family.

"In today's economy, working families need their tax refund more than ever," said David Marzahl,

President at the Center for Economic Progress. "With the help of volunteers—both new and returning— we're providing the free tax and financial services these families need to make the most of tax time and have a fair chance at financial security."

During the 2010 tax season, more than 1,200 volunteers joined CEP in helping low‐income workers get the max from tax time. Thanks to these volunteers and partners, CEP provided free tax and financial services to over 30,000 individuals and families in Illinois, returning $54 million to some of the most cash-strapped communities in Illinois.

Volunteers are needed as tax preparers, money management assistants and administrative assistants; no prior experience is necessary. Free, flexible training is available to volunteers willing to spend just a few hours a week providing vital services to low‐income families while building their skills and networking at one of many Illinois tax sites.

In Chicago, volunteers are needed at tax sites in Ashburn, Auburn Gresham, Lawndale, Loop, Pilsen, Quad Communities, Uptown and West Garfield Park. In the Chicago suburbs and northern Illinois, volunteers are needed in Aurora, Crystal Lake, Elgin, Harvey, Joliet, Rockford and Waukegan. In central and southern Illinois, volunteers are needed in Bloomington, Champaign, Decatur, East Alton, East St. Louis, Marion, Normal, Peoria, Rock Island and Springfield. Volunteers are supported at all times by experienced tax preparers and accountants. Certified Public Accountants who volunteer can also receive free Continuing Professional Education Credits.

The Center for Economic Progress is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping hard‐working, low-income families move from financial uncertainty to financial security. CEP provides free tax preparation from January 22, 2010 thru April 18, 2011 at over 25 Illinois locations. For more information or to register to volunteer, visit www.economicprogress.org/volunteer or call (312) 630‐0288.

SOURCE Center for Economic Progress