Heart of Florida United Way's 211 center staffed to offer tax help

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ORLANDO, Fla. - It's tax season again, and once again the Heart of Florida United Way is offering help for local families. The help and advice they are offering could mean big savings for some.
Every year, as tax season approaches the United Way uses its 211 call center to help local families. Tuesday, the office was staffed with experts ready to offer help.

Each year, it adds up to nearly a half-billion dollars for residents in Seminole, Orange and Osceola counties.

It's a tax break called the Earned Income Tax Credit.

"An estimated 25 percent of people don't know about it and therefore they don't claim it. It just lies on the table being left aside," said Mark Batchelor of Heart of Florida United Way.

The United Way also offers free tax advice and preparation for those who qualify at about 50 locations throughout metro Orlando and the surrounding area.

Tax payers can qualify for the tax credit if they make as much as $51,000 a year and have three kids.

Tax credits range from just under $500 to more than $6,000.

The Heart of Florida United Way warns against situations, such as, quick money with a tax return loan that swallow a significant chunk of taxpayer money.

"It's their money. They should hold onto 100 percent of it so if they can wait another couple of weeks and get 100 percent of their money back and not spend any of their money out to get their taxes done. That's just more money they can save or spend on their kids," said Batchelor.

To learn about the earned income tax credit and to find out if you qualify for tax help from Heart of Florida United Way call 211.