Real$ense also opens first year-round service center in Springfield
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., January 22, 2013 – The United Way-led Real$ense Prosperity Campaign today held its official launch of the 2013 tax filing season for the 2012 tax year. In conjunction with the season launch, Real$ense announced its plans to open its first year-round financial service center at the Wells Fargo Historic Springfield Community Learning Center. The center marks the first time in the non-profit’s 10 year history that it will have a home base for year-round financial education and other services along with free tax preparation.
Select tax preparation sites are now open for business and the IRS will accept electronic filing of tax returns starting on January 30, 2013, when the vast majority of the remaining Real$ense sites will start seeing customers and taking appointments. A full list can be found at www.realsensejax.org, or by calling United Way by dialing 2-1-1 or 904-632-0600.
“Our partners and volunteers have worked very hard during the last 9 years to help residents in Northeast Florida keep more of their hard-earned money in our community,” said Jeff Winkler, the director of Real$ense. “We’re excited to start our 10th year, and the new One-Stop Financial Service Center will allow us to help even more taxpayers and continue our mission to encourage and teach financial responsibility, wellness and security.”
“I commend the Real Sense Prosperity Campaign for its tireless efforts to keep more than $122 million in the pockets of Northeast Florida taxpayers throughout the past decade. Especially in our current economy, this money makes a serious difference,” said Mayor Alvin Brown. “It’s about protecting our resources for the good of our hardworking families and dedicated business people.”
Real$ense Prosperity Campaign in partnership with the IRS, AARP Tax-Aide and the City of Jacksonville, along with major funders Jessie Ball duPont Foundation, Wells Fargo Bank, Bank of America, FINRA, Wal-Mart, and SunTrust launched the 2013 tax season and opened the One-Stop Financial Service Center at an event held today. Mayor Alvin Brown and City Councilman Johnny Gaffney were in attendance to welcome Real$ense to his district.
The opening of the One-Stop Financial Service Center will allow Real$ense to offer a home base to its clients as well as offer year-round financial education services. The opening of the center marks 10 years of year-over-year growth of the program and the first time the coalition has a permanent location. The center is located in the Wells Fargo Historic Springfield Community Learning Center at 1601 North Main Street and can be reached at 904-271-9903.
The One-Stop Financial Service Center was made possible by a $300,000 multi-year grant from Wells Fargo and part of a $5 million partnership with United Way Worldwide to build a nationwide network providing financial counseling for low- and moderate-income households. “We’re very proud to support Real$ense in bringing the One-Stop Financial Service Center to the Historic Springfield community,” said Michelle Braun, Florida Community Development Manager for Wells Fargo and Volunteer Chair of the Real$ense Prosperity Campaign. “This creates a great opportunity for members of the community to access services and resources that they may not have been aware of and will help improve their financial prosperity”
In 2012, Real$ense helped more than 16,000 taxpayers in our communities file their taxes for free and access more than $22 million in refunds. The program also helped eligible taxpayers in Northeast Florida claim more than $6.2 million in Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC), returning those dollars back to our local communities.
The IRS has designated Friday, January 25, 2013, as EITC Awareness Day, a national grassroots effort spotlighting this potentially life-changing tax credit.
More than 500 Real$ense volunteers at 64 area locations in Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam, and St. Johns counties help taxpayers at no charge during tax filing season. Real$ense partners provide financial education classes, financial counseling, EITC filing and other outreach services throughout Northeast Florida.