- Associated Press - Thursday, May 1, 2014

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - Volunteers from 16 college campuses across Alabama helped more than 8,200 families get their income tax returns prepared.

The SaveFirst Tax Initiative reports that its eighth year was its biggest yet. It had more than 570 volunteers certified by the Internal Revenue Service, and the 8,200 families they served represented a 31 percent increase from last year.

SaveFirst targets lower-income working people who qualify for the earned income tax credit. SaveFirst says the volunteers helped the families claim nearly $15 million in refunds. That’s up from nearly $12 million a year ago. The organization estimates its free tax preparation saved the families more than $2.5 million in commercial tax preparation fees.

The student volunteers received credit or extra credit through service-learning opportunities at their universities.