It’s been said that there are only two things certain in life: death and taxes. Fortunately, what is not certain is the need to pay exorbitant fees and interest to have your taxes prepared and get your refund quickly.
On this past Saturday, January 23rd, University Neighborhood Housing Program (UNHP), Fordham Bedford Children’s Services and Ariva teamed up for their first of ten Free Income Tax Preparation sessions. Close to sixty Bronx residents filed their income tax returns for free, allowing them to avoid costly tax preparation fees and high interest Refund Anticipation Loans (RALs).
Most of the returns were e-filed, which means that clients who opted for direct deposit will receive their return in as little as ten days. In this difficult economic climate, this is money that can be used to cover everyday expenses, to pay down debt or to put towards savings.
Services are available for individuals and families whose total gross income in 2009 was $56,000 or less, and who do not have a complicated return. In addition to working individuals and families, services are available to seniors or individuals whose sole income is from SSI or SSD.
All of the preparers are certified by the IRS through their Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Student volunteers from the Fordham Leadership Academy for Business and Technology also assisted with intake.
Bronx residents interested in making an appointment for free tax preparation can call (718) 933-2539. Services are in provided in both English and Spanish at Refuge House, 2715 Bainbridge Avenue. For more information, visit UNHP's website.