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Taxpayer Empowerment Event Held at ECC

Officials on hand for the Tax Time Allies event held Monday at Edgecombe Community College included (from left) ECC Vice President of Student Services Michael Jordan; District Director Reginald Speight of the District Office of Congressman G.K. Butterfield; Edgecombe County Commissioner Viola Harris; NC Revenue Secretary Ronald Penny; and NC Representative Shelly Willingham.

NC Revenue Secretary Ronald Penny and representatives from the District Office of Congressman G.K. Butterfield joined community leaders at Edgecombe Community College this week for an event hosted by Tax Time Allies.

Held February 10, the goal of the event was to inform local residents about Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and North Carolina-sponsored free tax preparation options available this tax season, including Free File, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs.

District Director Reginald Speight spoke on Congressman Butterfield’s behalf about how free IRS-sponsored resources help improve the financial well-being of low- and moderate-income North Carolina taxpayers.

“IRS-sponsored free tax preparation services are critical resources for thousands of North Carolinians, providing hardworking taxpayers with the help they need to safely and accurately prepare and file their tax returns,” Speight said. “I know constituents rely heavily on these critical resources to improve their financial well-being, secure their financial futures, and keep more of their hard-earned money in their wallets.”

NC Revenue Secretary Ronald Penny also spoke to the power of these programs, highlighting the North Carolina-sponsored free tax preparation options available to qualifying taxpayers across the state. “Filing taxes online is secure, convenient, and more efficient than paper filing,” he explained. “Most North Carolinians can use NCfreefile to file both their federal and state tax returns free of charge through the North Carolina Department of Revenue.”

Sarah Crawford, national director of Partnerships & Programs for Single Stop, spoke about how her organization is helping qualifying taxpayers maximize their refund and jumpstart their savings at tax time through programs like Free File, VITA, and TCE. “Single Stop is a nonprofit organization that aims to reduce poverty and promote economic mobility in the U.S. by connecting people to available government and nonprofit programs, benefits, and services, like these free IRS-sponsored tax preparation resources, through a coordinated ‘one-stop shop’ solution,” Crawford said.

“As a proud Tax Time Ally, Single Stop is excited to join forces with Congressman Butterfield, Secretary Penny, and others here today to help the individuals and families in our community take steps toward a brighter financial future.”

Michael Jordan, vice president of student services at Edgecombe Community College, highlighted the importance of spreading awareness of the free IRS and North Carolina-sponsored tax prep resources to qualifying taxpayers.

“Free IRS-sponsored resources like Free File, VITA, and TCE are helping taxpayers turn tax time from a dreaded obligation into an opportunity to improve their financial stability, but these programs can only help taxpayers if they know about them,” Jordan said. “Here at ECC, our students can also access free filing through Single Stop, where they can opt in for other types of assistance, such as SNAP and WIC.”

“These are the only government-sponsored tax preparation services being provided by the industry completely free of charge, while not costing the American taxpayer a cent,” said Ellen Evans, representing the Intuit Financial Freedom Foundation, the sponsor of the Tax Time Allies initiative. Evans elaborated on her organization’s support for these programs and commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of countless taxpayers, stating, “This has always been an easy decision for us because, simply put, it is the right thing to do.”

To learn more about the Tax Time Allies program, visit For more information about free IRS-sponsored tax preparation resources like Free File, VITA, or TCE, visit To find a local free tax prep site, visit You can also visit the North Carolina Department of Revenue website at to see the list of companies offering both a free federal and state return.