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County agencies seek volunteers for free tax prep site

by jmaloni


Thu, Nov 20th 2014 11:55 am

Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Niagara and the Niagara County Financial Literacy Coalition are seeking volunteers for a few hours per week during February and March 2015 to help with the CCCS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. Volunteers will have flexibility in determining work times and will receive a certification to add to their resumes. The work experience could lead to a job in this field.

Most importantly, volunteers will help the community by preparing taxes free of charge for low-to-moderate income individuals and families. Often, individuals and families use for-profit commercial tax preparers that charge upward of $200 to file their taxes. In many cases, victims of these predatory practices are eligible for the Earned-Income Tax Credit, a critical economic support that allows hardworking low-income families to keep more of what they earn.

Currently, nearly 70 percent of low-income families use a for profit commercial tax preparer to claim the EITC. Electronic tax filing and preparation services cluster in neighborhoods where large numbers of families claim the EITC. High-EITC zip codes are home to 50 percent more for-profit electronic tax preparation services per filer than low-EITC zip codes. The CCCS VITA program will be a true community asset - helping families receive hard-earned monies and putting money back into Niagara County.

Consumer Credit Counseling Service and the Niagara County Financial Literacy Coalition will provide volunteers with: Free tax law training; E-file software training; administrative support and a great volunteer experience and resume builder.

The VITA program is part of an initiative launched last fall to provide free opportunities for financial education and awareness. It is particularly designed to help low income Niagara County residents, with access to free one-on-one counseling and volunteer income tax assistance a central focus.

To become a volunteer, contact Noelle Carter at 716-771-3255 or email [email protected]

The community is encouraged to participate in other free services provided by CCCS and the NCFLC, including one-on-one financial coaching where participants can meet with certified financial counselors for sessions on a quarterly basis and financial literacy classes.

The coalition is a collaborative effort among many community partners. The following agencies participate in the NCFLC: United Way of Greater Niagara; Family & Children's Service of Niagara; Niagara Orleans BOCES; The Dale Association; NiaCap (Niagara Community Action Program); YWCA of Niagara; Niagara Falls Housing Authority; Lockport Housing Authority; City of Niagara Falls Department of Community Development; Worksource One; Niagara University; NCCC Single Moms Program; the state Tax Department; Heart, Love and Soul; and Highland Community Revitalization Services.

For more information on CCCS, visit www.consumercreditbuffalo.org.

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