Tax season didn't cause as much pain for nearly 1,500 families in Alabama this year, thanks to schools like Huntingdon college and Troy University Montgomery, who participated in the SaveFirst initiative.
SaveFirst provided resources and tax preparation curricula to schools statewide and the students in the program then offered their services to families at free tax prep sites - in Montgomery, that was the Jubilee Center Downtown. This was the first year Montgomery participated and the second year of the program. Students from Alabama and Auburn and Faulkner's Jones School of Law also participated.
In total, these families saved more than a quarter million dollars in tax preparation fees and secured refunds of more than two million dollars.
Alabama's income gap between the highest income and poorest families is the second largest in the nation. This initiative is one way to help address that growing gap.
Impact Alabama is the group that spearheads SaveFirst, as well as a vision screening initiative that gives free screenings to more than 1,200 children in Montgomery every year by training students at area schools to do the screenings. Huntingdon college students are also involved in that initiative, along with students from Alabama State and St. James High School.