Utica, NY (WIBX) - A nationwide event kicked off today offering free tax preparation services to certain earners. If you make $50,000 or less, you're eligible to take part in National Earned Income Tax Credit Day.

EITC Project Coordinator, Danell Libby said there is no cost to take part in the program and the aim is to help people get back all the money they earned. She said, "There are sites all throughout the nation that offer the free service to anybody who made under $50,000 in hopes that we're getting, not only our community but nationwide communities, to get back the Earned Income Tax Credit--stuff that everybody is supposed to have--they're due." Libby said volunteers from throughout the community come out to support the program.

Here in Oneida County many were already lining up in The Dorothy Smith Center for Advocacy at the Resource Center for Independent Living, (RCIL) to take advantage of the free offer. Julia Hoffman of Utica said the service helped her get money she didn't even know she was entitled to. "They got me a refund when I had no taxes withheld. I didn't know how to claim my disability and I didn't know how to get my Earned Income Credit and they got me almost $400 when I didn't make enough for them to even withhold taxes. I couldn't have done that myself--It's wonderful," Hoffman said.

Libby said volunteers can help with an array of tax issues including helping those who haven't filed their taxes on a regular basis. "We  can also do back taxes for people if they're not sure if they received everything they were supposed to," she said. According to the report, due to the free tax service, over 1,600 returns were prepared in Oneida County last year and $2.7 million dollars was returned to the community.

To set up an appointment or to learn more about the program call (315) 797-4642.