Free tax preparation available for low and moderate income individuals, families and seniors
Low and moderate income individuals, families and seniors can get their taxes prepared for free, thanks once again to the Hudson Valley CASH Coalition, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide and United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region, along with numerous community partners. Individuals and families in Dutchess and Orange Counties can begin making appointments today by calling 2-1-1 to file their 2014 federal and state income taxes.
Last year, more than 6700 people took advantage of Hudson Valley CASH Coalition's free tax service, resulting in nearly $5.6 million returned to the people who need it most in the form of refunds and tax credits, such as the earned income tax credit. It is estimated that those who accessed the free expert service cumulatively saved an additional $1 million in tax preparation costs.
AARP Foundation Tax-Aide and the Hudson Valley CASH Coalition will have over 35 tax preparation sites available in Dutchess and Orange counties staffed by expert volunteer tax preparers. Appointments are available weekdays, evenings and weekends. Assistance is provided to clients who require translation support or request sign language interpretation. Hudson Valley Cash Coalition services are available to area residents of all ages who meet income guidelines. AARP membership is not required.
“Tax sites open February 2 and remain open until April 15. Customers can make an appointment today for any time during the filing season. They do not need to wait until they receive all necessary tax documents to secure their appointment,” said Edward Broderick, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide State Coordinator/Eastern New York. “Throughout Orange and Dutchess Counties, we have more than 180 volunteers ready to assist clients in preparing their taxes.”
“Hudson Valley CASH Coalition free tax preparation services help people claim the tax credits for which they are eligible, which helps them keep more of their hard-earned money,” said Dave Weaving, Hudson Valley CASH Coalition Chair. “For our customers, this service fills a critical need, as most people do not understand the complicated US tax laws and therefore may not receive all they are due in refunds. The CASH Coalition, which stands for ‘Creating Assets, Savings and Hope’, helps ensure that families receive free tax assistance and are able to apply for all credits for which they are eligible.”
“Tax refunds can help families and seniors pay bills and rent, pay down debt, get medical care, buy food and provide other basic needs. United Way proudly supports the Hudson Valley Cash Coalition and its partner organizations with grants from the Community Fund,” said Steven V. Lant, Interim President and CEO of United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region. "This program is an excellent example of how collaboration can bring together the entire community – local, state, and federal governments as well as nonprofit organizations, private businesses and an excellent group of dedicated volunteers -- towards helping residents maintain financial stability, a cornerstone of United Way’s mission.”
This year, individuals earning less than $14,590 and working families earning less than $52,427 may be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit when filing their 2014 tax returns. The IRS reports that the Earned Income Tax Credit lifts an estimated 6.5 million people out of poverty annually, half of whom are children.
All volunteer tax counselors have received extensive training by AARP Foundation Tax-Aide and are certified by the IRS. Since 1968, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide has been helping low to moderate income taxpayers obtain more discretionary income for everyday essentials like food and housing through its free tax services that ensure taxpayers receive all applicable tax credits and deductions.
Individuals are encouraged to make an appointment today for tax preparation services at the site most convenient for them by calling the free United Way Hudson Valley Region 2-1-1 helpline or by dialing 1-800-899-1479. The helpline is available daily, including weekends, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Services offered at tax preparation sites require an appointment.
Calls for appointments increase significantly as the April 15 filing deadline approaches. During heavy call volume periods, those wishing to book appointments may find speedier access in the evening or on weekends. Upon calling 2-1-1, individuals speak with a call specialist, who will review eligibility, secure an appointment, provide directions to tax sites, and provide a complete list of required documents for their appointment.
Partners in the Hudson Valley CASH Coalition include:
AARP Foundation, United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region, Catholic Charities, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Dutchess County, Dutchess County Community Action Partnership, Fidelis Care, Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, Literacy Orange, Mount Saint Mary College, North East Community Center, PathStone, Poughkeepsie Plaza, Taconic Resources for Independence, United Way Hudson Valley Region 2-1-1 and Walden Savings Bank.
Additional funding for the Hudson Valley Cash Coalition is generously provided by the Ann and Abe Effron Fund – Donor Advised of the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley, IBM Corporation and Key Bank.