Updated: Monday, 09 Jan 2012, 4:23 PM EST
Published : Monday, 09 Jan 2012, 4:23 PM EST
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Volunteers on a Wednesday night are getting tax preparation training from the Internal Revenue Service and you do not have to be an accountant.
"Some of our best volunteers are older people who have already done their returns for years," explained Katherine McKnight, Internal Revenue Service.
They signed up to help with "Free Tax Prep Indy."
"Not only do we want to give people the same professional experience as they would have if they paid for a tax preparer but we also want to save them the money that they would do if they had to pay somebody," said McKnight.
Dozens of Huntington Bank employees take part each year preparing taxes.
"People getting the service can, they walk away and feel good that their taxes have been prepared accurately and it will be done with but from a volunteer standpoint, you walk away feeling like you helped a community," said John Lee with Huntington Bank.
Last year, "Free Tax Prep Indy" filed more than 5,000 returns saving people more than $750,000 in preparation fees.
"Our target market are people who are elderly, limited English proficiency, people with disabilities and their families and people who make less than $50,000," said McKnight.
Winnie Ballard, the first lady of Indianapolis, prepared taxes for a living before her husband took office. Now, she's using her experience and giving back by volunteering hours of tax preparation.
"Normally the tax preparation fees can cost $150-$300 to $450, that's a lot of money that you can save. That you can use it for your groceries. Use it for your rent or for anything," she explained.
Don't be surprised if you see her. She plans to volunteer until April's tax deadline.
"I will be preparing taxes all day, I mean, everyday until April 17," says Ballard.
The tax deadline this year is April 17. The date is different from the traditional tax return filing deadline of April 15. That's because this year it falls on a Sunday and April 16 is Emancipation Day, a holiday in Washington, D.C.
If you want to volunteer for Free Tax Prep Indy, there will be a kick-off Wednesday, January 25 at Circle Centre Mall. Volunteers will be there from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. to prepare taxes and get the word out about the free services.
You can also call 211 for tax prep sites and hours of operation.