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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Free Tax Preparation Services Offered for Bronx Residents

Neighborhood and citywide nonprofits and financial institutions are joining forces to provide free tax preparation services to Bronx residents, hoping to keep more money in our neighborhoods. Every year, Bronx neighborhoods lose millions of dollars in tax preparation fees and refund anticipation loan interest – much of this coming out of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit. Through this initiative, Bronxites making less than $72,000 will be able to file their federal and state returns without any fees.

In 2006, about one-third of all applications for Refund Anticipation Loans in New York City (more than 71,000 filers) were made by Bronx residents. The total fees paid by these filers for tax preparation, the loans themselves and any other miscellaneous fees totaled approximately $19.5 million dollars, based on calculations made by the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project using the Consumer Federation of America’s estimate of $273 for an average filer. More than 80% of these Refund Anticipation Loan applications were made by low income Bronxites, who paid more than $16 million for these services. Two-thirds of applications came from households who received the Earned Income Tax Credit, one of the largest federal anti-poverty programs.

Even at the neighborhood level, the amount of money paid for tax preparation and Refund Anticipation Loans exceeds $1 million in many northwest Bronx zip codes. For instance, more than 5,600 filers in 10453 spent more than $1.5 million on tax preparation and Refund Anticipation Loans.

By providing free tax preparation services in these same neighborhoods, much needed money will stay in the pockets of Bronxites. Services began this Saturday, January 24th at the Heiskell Enterprise Technology Center in Refuge House, 2715 Bainbridge Avenue, and run through March 28th. Services will also be offered at Mosholu Preservation Corporation, 3400 Reservoir Oval East, and Ridgewood Savings Bank, 3445 Jerome Avenue, and are by appointment only. Contact University Neighborhood Housing Program at 718-933-2539 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Sponsored by:
• University Neighborhood Housing Program
• Fordham Bedford Children’s Services
• Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation
• Mosholu Preservation Corporation
• West Bronx Housing & Neighborhood Resource Center
• Food Bank for New York City
• Ridgewood Savings Bank
• JPMorgan Chase Bank
• Signature Bank
• TD Bank

1 comment:

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