SaveFirst

Every tax season, America's hardest-working families rely on their tax refund to support their children by helping to pay down debts and put food on the table. Unfortunately, they face exorbitant, negligent, and sometimes fraudulent preparers that cost our communities millions in fees. SaveFirst provides free tax preparation services and meaningful opportunities for savings.

  • Free Tax returns prepared for families during 2014:
  • 8,230
  • A 31% increase over to the number of families served last year.
  • Tax refunds claimed by SaveFirst families during 2014:
  • $14.9M
  • Our IRS-certified student volunteers ensure families receive all benefits to which they are entitled.
  • Fees saved by families using SaveFirst in 2014:
  • $2.5M
  • These extra savings make a tremendous difference in helping hard-working families secure health insurance, pay down debts, and even put food on the table.
  • # of SaveFirst volunteers in 2014:
  • 570
  • Many student volunteers are surprised to learn how hard working low-income families are. Through SaveFirst, they gain a whole new perspective.
  • Total returns prepared for families since 2006:
  • 31,928
  • Total tax refunds claimed by SaveFirst families since 2006:
  • $58.3M
  • Total fees saved by families using SaveFirst since 2006:
  • $9.2M
  • Total # of volunteers since 2006:
  • 3,189

Stats by state: AL / TN

Most nonprofit and service organizations gather support from potential volunteers and donors by utilizing media and stories about the people they serve. And the media that have proven most effective tend to portray disadvantaged populations as helpless victims, and their benefactors as saviors. The imagery and tone, whether intentional or not, can be extremely condescending, and can deepen the pervasive sense of "otherness" that perpetuates many of our social ailments.

We hope our films will inspire those who watch them to develop a more nuanced understanding of these hard-working families living at or near the poverty line.

"Stories of Impact" navigates the complexities that make up our community's experience of poverty. In a series of short films that combine formal interviews with intimate vérité-style scenes at home with family, at work, and at school, we depict the portraits of specific individuals Impact serves and intersect those portraits with the stories of the young individuals choosing to serve them. Although each sketch stands alone, taken as a whole they provide an honest reflection about poverty and community as well as a commentary on the transformational power of relationship building.

Antoinette Miller

Despite working multiple part-time jobs, Antoinette Miller only makes $10,737 a year—100% of which is needed to support her daughter and put herself through nursing school.

Rebecca & Richard

Raising five children is a challenge no matter what. But when your household income is only $41,150 a year like Rebecca & Richard Charles—it can become a real struggle.

Shunte Sunday

Shunte Sunday considers herself blessed to have two jobs when some people can't even get one. So she works 65 hours a week, making only $23,000 a year to support her 3-year-old daughter.

A $500 contribution means 150 families receive free tax preparation services, saving them more than $45,000 in commercial preparation fees.

The Earned Income Tax Credit is the federal government's largest antipoverty program, aimed at lifting families—especially those with children—above the poverty line. However, many who do not have the resources or knowledge to file their own taxes rely instead on costly commercial tax preparers, collectively losing millions of dollars owed them by the EITC. That extra money could have made a tremendous contribution to helping lower-income families secure health insurance, pay down debts—and even put food on the table.

Moreover, because there are no national standards or licensing procedures for commercial preparers, many set up shop in low-income communities and take advantage of hard-working families by preparing negligent, and sometimes fraudulent, returns. And ultimately, it's the families who are on the hook for any mistakes. SaveFirst is dedicated to protecting these families' tax refunds—the largest check that most will receive all year.

SaveNow, WinLater

The vast majority of working families lives paycheck to paycheck, with little or no savings to shield against unforeseen emergencies or to plan for future needs. At a time when jobs have been disappearing and workers' hours are being cut, the need for saving is even more pronounced. SaveNow WinLater tackles this problem by focusing on two critical elements: utilizing the best possible savings product and creating the strongest possible incentive to save.

For every $50 eligible taxpayers invest in a federal savings bond, they earn a chance to win a grand prize jackpot, as well as two smaller prizes awarded during the season. Families making less than $52,000/year with one or more children in the home, or $20,000/year without children are eligible to participate.

This innovative initiative attracts taxpayers and positively impacts their saving levels. They can enter without risking any principal or interest, plus they can participate knowing that they are building important financial assets for themselves and their families.

SaveFirst SaveNow Win Later $10,000 Winner Announcement 2013

SaveFirst

SAVEFIRST COLLABORATORS

We are proud to be a partner agency for Junior League of Birmingham volunteers and financial support.  JLB volunteers provide an especially high level of professionalism and expertise at our tax sites.

Fox 6, the most highly rated and watched television network in central Alabama, is our primary media sponsor of SaveFirst in Birmingham and surrounding communities.

WHNT is our primary media partner in Huntsville, Decatur, Florence and other North Alabama markets.

WSFA is our primary media partner in Montgomery and Central Alabama markets.

Impact Alabama's Huntsville tax preparation site is co-sponsored and co-coordinated by the United Way of Madison County.

ASCPA has provided marketing support, volunteers, and financial support of our SaveFirst campus fellowship program.

The largest number of student volunteers for our SaveFirst Initiative comes from The University of Alabama, which also supports SaveFirst through providing work study students, housing our appointment schedulers, and providing office space and financial support to our staff members.

MAJOR SAVEFIRST FUNDERS

We are so grateful to the companies and foundations who support SaveFirst across Alabama.

Impact America, an AmeriCorps Program, is housed and supported by the Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility at The University of Alabama.  Additional office space is provided by UAB and Maynard, Cooper & Gale, PC.