The Creating Assets, Savings, and Hope (CA$H) Maine coalition has wrapped up another record-breaking tax season, helping 3,635 taxpayers file federal and state income taxes that resulted in nearly $7 million worth of federal refunds going
With such a great commitment from hundreds of volunteers and community and business partners, CA$H Maine was able to reach more individuals and families in the low- to moderate-income bracket and increased the amount of returns filed by about 12 percent from last year. Plus, more than $2.3 million worth of Earned Income Tax Credits were returned to the local economy. The EITC is the federal government’s largest anti-poverty program. The benefit is intended to reduce the tax burden on those workers and supplement wages.
“The service continues to serve a crucial need in Maine, with the average wage of those served at about $26,000, every little bit saved during the tax preparation process makes a world of difference,” said Sharon Ross, Project Director and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Grant Manager with Volunteers of America Northern New England.
Plus, volunteers help make the process less intimidating, as one client said, “I am like a fish out of water. Taxes [are]… definitely hard for me even just to get through the basics. These guys (CA$H volunteers) were really on top of it.”
CA$H Maine aims to help low- and moderate-income Mainers make the most of their money and find financial stability. This year, financial empowerment partners Women, Work and Community; Coastal Enterprises; Pine Tree Legal and Money Management International helped connect hundreds of Mainers with financial asset-building resources like budgeting workshops, family development accounts, free credit report reviews, foreclosure assistance and small business workshops.
To help underserve Mainers, the Greater Portland CA$H Coalition partnered with REI and the Maine Center on Deafness, and to prepare income tax returns (via video phone) for deaf clients throughout the state of Maine. Plus, the Portland coalition and Lewiston-Auburn CA$H coalition offer translation services to clients with limited English proficiency.
This year, CA$H Maine welcomed its ninth member coalition, the Maine Wabanaki CA$H Coalition, which serves Pleasant Point Passamaquoddy reservation in Washington County and the Maliseet Reservation in Aroostook County. Volunteers from this coalition have been serving Penobscot Nation taxpayers for three years.
Given the current state of the economy, CA$H Maine anticipates an even greater need during the 2012 tax season. To find out how you can help out, visit our volunteer page.
A new study released by the nonprofit Corporation for Enterprise Development shows that the poorest 20% of families pay more of their income in taxes than top 1% of families. The national organization also rated Maine in five key areas: financial assets and income; businesses and jobs; housing and homeownership; healthcare and education. View the complete study here: http://scorecard.assetsandopportunity.org/2013/state/me
Make the most of your money. Stop paying to get your taxes prepared, and find out if you qualify for tax credits that you didn’t know you qualified for. If you, or your household, made up to $51,000 in 2012, you can get your income taxes prepared for free by IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers! Find a coalition near you to schedule an appointment.
Ask about our do-it-yourself option if your individual or combined household income is up to $57,000.
Thanks to a grant from the Walmart Foundation and a partnership between Goodwill International and United Way Worldwide, we are able to offer a free, do-it-yourself option. If your individual or combined household income is up to $57,000, you can file your federal and state taxes for free!
Family Development Account Coalition – Matched Savings Program — FDAs
The FDA Program enables low-income families to establish savings accounts that will be used to buy a home, pay for education, or start or expand a small business. Participating families establish a savings account to be used toward their identified goal. Matched Savings Programs enhance the money you earn through employment by matching your participant dollars at a 4:1 ratio. For a program description: http://womenworkandcommunity.org/?page_id=101