Most people dread filing their taxes, but not Melanie Creamer. She gets the tax help she needs from CA$H Greater Portland (Creating Assets, Savings and Hope), which recruits and trains volunteers to offer free tax preparation and financial education tools.
“I feel a sense of confidence in what the tax preparers have done for me and a sense of financial stability,” said Melanie. When she got her $543 refund check, she said, “I’m planning to use some of that money to pay off bills and the rest, I’m gonna put it right back into the community and support local businesses. This kind of program absolutely improves people’s lives.”
Last year, volunteers with CA$H Greater Portland brought people like Melanie more than $1.2 million in federal and state income tax refunds. That money helps make ends meet, can lead to a better quality of life, and contribute to the greater community.
Depending on income level, you or someone you know might qualify for assistance like this in your community. For example, many low and middle-income families don’t know that they are eligible for the Earned Income Tax credit. And did you know that there is still time to file a tax return as far back as 2015 and still be eligible for a refund?
United Way of Greater Portland, Maine is one of many partners behind the state’s CA$H coalitions, and many other United Ways offer similar programs called VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance). These hands-on programs also often connect people year-round to financial education resources like money management and home buying workshops, matched savings accounts, and credit counseling.
Want to get started? Contact your local United Way to find tax preparation sites in your community. Or go online to MyFreeTaxes.com, where United Way and H&R Block offer a free tax filing service for anyone who earned less than $66,000 last year.