United Way of Central Arkansas held its free tax preparation event at the University of Central Arkansas over the weekend but encountered a large hiccup when the site, TaxSlayer, workers were using went down.
The nonprofit had been planning for the Super Saturday free event for months.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VIFA) is an IRS program that offers free assistance to households that make $54,000 or less yearly, to people with disabilities and those who speak limited English.
First Security Bank’s Erin Simpson, who was working the event, said the website went down nationwide.
“We were very disappointed we couldn’t help everyone that came out that day,” she said.
Simpson said had the website stayed up, the event would have gone a lot better.
“I think it would’ve been great had we been able to use the site,” she said.
In addition to the free tax preparation, Simpson said other services were provided during the day and when the site quit working, they were able to usher participants into that area.
Community Action Program of Central Arkansas (CAPCA), which provided info about programs to assist lower income families; the Women’s Shelter of Central Arkansas, Walgreens, which provided free health assessments and prescription discounts; the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services; and First Security Bank, which offered credit counseling and new home buyer education, were among the more than 15 services in attendance.
“That worked better than we even thought,” Simpson said.
Even though the event didn’t go as they planned, she said, those who quality for the program can still take advantage of the free tax preparation help by making an appointment Tuesday through April 13 with United Way, located at 1120 W. Oak Street in downtown Conway.
Simpson said next year they still want to do the tax day but won't hold the event on the same day everyone else does; she said website traffic was likely what caused the crash.
To make an appointment, fill out forms and more, visit www.uwcark.org/free-tax-prep.