Insights > Entergy Employees Help Customers Get Back Their Hard Earned Tax Money
Entergy Employees Help Customers Get Back Their Hard Earned Tax Money
Entergy Texas customers are receiving free tax preparation during tax season, resulting in the return of millions of dollars to customers who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC). Mark Delavan, program manager with the Entergy Solutions energy efficiency program, is one of the company’s volunteer tax preparers and shared his insights into his experiences.
When did you become a volunteer tax preparer?
I started volunteering in February 2019 after taking 16 hours of classroom training during December, passing a background check, passing the IRS advanced test and become registered as a Baker-Ripley tax volunteer.
What made you choose to become a volunteer tax preparer?
A number of things made me want to volunteer. In addition to logging volunteer hours at Entergy, I was excited to learn more about how taxes work. I knew some, but not enough to prepare my own taxes. I also wanted to help people with their taxes. I get excited when entering in all their information and seeing what kind of return they can get.
Since I volunteer as a tax preparer, my volunteer hours are worth double when applying for an Entergy volunteer grant. Because of this, I set a goal to volunteer 40 hours from February to April 2019.
Do you find this experience rewarding?
I do. I have done about 10 to 15 tax returns this year and really enjoy it. I get excited to see how big the return can be for some clients. I also enjoy explaining to them how their taxes worked that year. For example, showing them “This is how much you made in 2018,” and “This is how much you should have paid the IRS,” and “This is how much you are getting back from the IRS.”
I also really enjoy entering in all the information into the tax software. It is fun to see how the different forms fit into the overall tax form.
Do you have a particular instance where you saved a customer a lot of money?
Yes. On one of my first returns, I was helping a young couple with a small child. I filled out the form to the best of my knowledge but forgot to check a certain box. Their return was around $1,000. When I was finished, a professional tax prepared looked over the return. They corrected the error and the return grew to over $5,000!
I was glad to learn about my mistake and happy to see the couple get such a big return. They left with big smiles.
What would you like to tell people who are interested in getting their taxes done at Super Tax Day events?
Filing a return during a Super Tax Day can help you reduce a lot of stress and headache when it comes to taxes.
Not everyone qualifies for the Earned Income Tax Credit, but it doesn’t hurt to give it a try. We might be able to help you get a return and not have to worry about filing your taxes on time. The people that I work with are very courteous and care about your wellbeing.
Has this experience helped you with your own tax preparation?
Yes. This year I was able to read my taxes line by line and understand my return. Before my training, I could only understand what kind of return I was getting.
Since the program began in 2009, nearly 9,300 tax returns have been filed in Texas, with Texans receiving more than $13,123 in refunds. Systemwide, Entergy customers have filed 127,431 tax returns, getting refunds of nearly $225 million.
It’s not too late to take advantage of Entergy’s free tax preparation program! Visit www.entergy.com/freetaxhelp to find a tax preparation site near you.