Free Tax Preparation Services to Help Combat Poverty

Nakia Hill
Spare Change News

Mitt Romney is not the only one filing his taxes this year. While the wealthy may be trying to dodge higher tax rates, low-income families are banking on collecting every penny borrowed from Uncle Sam last year. Boston and Cambridge are offering free services to the working class to assure that filing taxes will be less taxing this season.

“Our free tax prep centers are open to make sure that the money that residents have worked hard for all year goes back into their pockets,” Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said.

Since 2001, the mayor, alongside non-profit and corporate organizations, has been providing tax preparation services at no costs for families who qualify. In addition, other partners include ABCD, 1199 SEIU, Morgan Memorial Goodwill, Work Inc., and JVS. This year, Urban Edge, community development organization for Roxbury and Jamaica Plain, has joined the partnership.

With the help of IRS-certified volunteers from the city, the Boston Earned Income Tax (EITC) Credit Campaign, a coalition of community organizations filed nearly 12,000 returns last year. It has been over a decade and the free tax services made Bostonians pockets a bit heftier, by receiving refunds worth more than $100 million and more than $40 million in EITC refunds. The Boston EITC Coalition also provides tax services in variety of languages including Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Somali, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Cape Verdean Creole.

Do you qualify?

SINGLE
• with 3 or more children and earn $43,279 or less
• with 2 or more children and earn $40,295 or less
• with 1 child and earn $35,463 or less with no children and earn $13,440 or less (and you are at least 25 but less than 65 years old).

MARRIED
• with 2 or more children and earn $45,295 or less
• with 1 child and earn $40,463 or less.
• with 3 or more children and earn $48,279 or less
• with no children and earn $18,440 or less (and you are at least 25 but less than 65 years old)

Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee (CEOC), Inc. is also servicing the Cambridge community by providing free tax preparation services. They also link the community to child care services, food pantries, affordable housing stabilization assistance, public policy, and health education. Taxpayers can apply for MassHealth and food stamps through the Commonwealth’s Virtual Gateway, and individuals can get assistance in completing their FAFSA to receive financial aid for higher education.

Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee, Inc. and the Boston Earned Income Tax (EITC) Credit Campaign are working towards combating poverty by connecting working-class families with higher education mentors, credit and cash advisors all year. For more information please visit http://www.bostontaxhelp.org/ and http://ceoccambridge.org/.

Nakia Hill is an editorial assistant for Spare Change News

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