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Ringing phones and tax deadlines

The phones have been ringing nonstop here this week as the tax deadline looms today. Reimi Okuyama, our EITC Coordinator, and Martha Trujillo, Information & Referral Specialist, have been fielding calls in between tax preparation appointments. We are referring folks to the other preparation sites in the area, but they are pretty full as well and may not be able to accommodate walk-ins. Thank you to all the volunteers who have been manning those sites.

As of March 31, the Thomas Jefferson Area Earn Income Tax Credit Coaltion’s four tax preparation sites for 2009 served 613 taxpayers, saving them over $73,000 in fees and obtaining credits of $306,830.

We have had close to 200 more phone calls since April 1, so stay tuned for final numbers.

Why are we doing this? One of the United Way’s four focus areas is Achieving Self-sufficiency, and  approximately 20% of low to middle income taxpayers (making less than $42,000 last year) were not taking advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit. We wanted to help them keep more of their hard-earned money, especially in this economic climate, and avoid those ridiculous refund anticipation loan fees from some paid tax preparers.

So hang in there, Reimi and Martha (and the rest of our staff who may answer the phone today). The end is in sight, and just think of all the people we have helped keep more of their money in their pockets this year.

Posted by Kim Connolly.

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