Benefit Bank of Indiana offers free tax-filing help

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -– The Purdue University Extension Service is offering a new and free online service to help low- and moderate-income Indiana residents file their income tax returns.

The Benefit Bank helps Hoosiers complete and electronically file their federal and state income tax returns, which is necessary to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit and other tax credits. The service also helps individuals and families complete paperwork to apply for government services such as food stamps and college financial aid.

“The goals of The Benefit Bank of Indiana are to move more Indiana residents out of unemployment, poverty or welfare and into self-sufficiency and to boost the economic prosperity of local communities,” said Angie Abbott, director of The Benefit Bank of Indiana.

Individuals making $60,000 or less per year can go to the website to file their federal and state income tax returns and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. For help in completing paperwork to apply for benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), they need to meet with a Benefit Bank counselor at a site sponsored by a community-based organization. The website includes a locator for Benefit Bank sites across the state. Counselors also can help with preparation of tax returns.

Each year more than $1.1 billion in federal assistance for tax credits, food assistance, student financial aid and other services go unclaimed by eligible Hoosiers who do not apply. The Benefit Bank of Indiana connects low- and moderate-income families with the support for which they are eligible. The website includes a tool that helps them estimate potential eligibility for various programs.

The Benefit Bank is seeking host organizations in each county to sponsor sites and counselors to reach out to low- and moderate-income families who might need assistance in completing and filing forms, such as income tax returns. Host organizations, which can include faith-based organizations, food pantries and other community-based groups, need a computer with high-speed Internet connection, a printer, and Adobe Reader software (available for free) to view completed forms and applications.

Organizations can sign up to be host sites and to receive free training at

“We look forward to working with faith-based and community organizations to support economic opportunity and security in communities,” said Hannah Martin, affiliate administrator of The Benefit Bank of Indiana.

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