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Hudson Valley Press

February 27th, 2013

CASH coalition’s free tax filing initiative gets off to fast start

MIDDLETOWN - The Hudson Valley CASH Coalition’s annual effort to aid low and middle income workers in Orange County to file their income taxes and apply for Earned Income Tax Credits is off to a brisk start with more than 400 appointments made by taxpayers by February 13th and 100 returns filed in the first weeks of the service.

The Coalition is taking part in the annual IRS nationwide effort to build awareness and bring information about EITC to the millions of workers in the U.S. who will qualify for the first time this year. The IRS reports that EITC annually lifting 6.6 million people out of poverty; half are children. This year, some low to moderate income working families earning less than $50,000 and individuals making less than $13,980 could be entitled to the Earned Income Tax Credit.

For the 2011 tax season, the Coalition prepared 1,940 returns in Orange County for low and middle income taxpayers and seniors, and for 3,682 filers in Dutchess. A Coalition exit survey showed that two-thirds of the filers made $29,000 or less. A total of 962 Orange and Dutchess County eligible taxpayers received $1,423,780 in Earned Income Tax Credits Refunds and all credits received by the 5,622 filers helped by the CASH Coalition totaled $5,310,565, which results in a local economic impact estimated to be more than $9.2 million.

The Coalition has 16 sites up and running in Orange County to provide tax preparation services, as well as 23 sites in Dutchess. Some Coalition sites will be open on Saturdays.

"This year the Coalition has the capacity of assisting more than 6,000 Hudson Valley low and middle income workers and seniors at our tax preparation sites in Dutchess and Orange Counties," said Hudson Valley CASH Coalition’s Christine Rolando. "This is the ninth year of that the CASH coalition has aided people eligible for EITC as well as child tax credits, and helped filers with free tax preparation and filing."

"The Coalition will offer free tax preparation services through April 15 with teams of trained AARP Tax Aide volunteers," said Sheri Conklin of AARP Tax-Aide. "Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union branches in Beacon, Poughkeepsie and Town of Newburgh are among the Orange and Dutchess sites." HVFCU sites in Kingston and Carmel, Putnam County also will have AARP Tax Aide volunteers preparing returns for filers.

"Four of five eligible workers claim and get their Earned Income Tax Credit which often keeps a family out of poverty. The credit can assist a family pay their bills and rent, pay down their debt, get medical care, buy food, or provide other basic needs," said Dave Weaving, the CA$H Coalition’s Chair who is also a United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region board member. "That’s why it’s so important for United Way to be a Coalition partner since it fulfills our commitment to help people achieve financial stability in their lives."

Dutchess and Orange County partners in the Hudson Valley CASH Coalition include United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region, AARP Tax Aide, Catholic Charities, the IRS, Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County, the Dutchess County Community Action Partnership, Literacy Orange, North East Community Center, Pathstone, Taconic Resources for Independence, Hudson Valley Region 2-1-1, Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, Dutchess County Department of Community & Family Services, and Fidelis Care. These organizations and volunteers work together to recruit volunteers, schedule appointments.

For more information log on to Individuals can make appointments for tax preparation services, or find the site nearest to them and the phone number to make an appointment by calling the free Hudson Valley Region 2-1-1 helpline available daily, including weekends, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. In areas where 2-1-1 cannot be dialed, residents can call 1-800-899-1479 to access the helpline.

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