And everything you need to know.
The Associated Press
Thanks to the Boston Tax Help Coalition, eligible city residents can once again have their taxes prepared for free this year.
The group announced on February 3 that it was launching its assistance in preparing for the 2021 tax season, with a focus this year on delivering these services while taking COVID-19 security measures into account.
“I urge all qualified Bostonians to take advantage of the Boston Tax Help Coalition’s safe and free tax preparation,” Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement. “The Boston Tax Help Coalition experts can help residents financially affected by COVID-19 maximize their reimbursement and get the highest earned income tax credit.”
About 13,000 local taxpayers have their taxes prepared by the coalition each year, resulting in $ 24 million in refunds and loans, according to officials.
What you should know about the program:
Am i eligible?
City residents who worked in 2020 and made less than $ 57,000 are eligible to have their taxes prepared for free.
The service is offered in multiple languages including English, Spanish, Cape Verdean Creole, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, French, Vietnamese, Mandarin, and Cantonese.
What should I do?
To make an appointment, qualified residents can either call 311 or make an appointment online at www.bostontaxhelp.org.
Full archive services are also available online. There are no attendance appointments this year.
“The tax coalition is committed to fully engaging and serving all Boston residents regardless of their immigration status week.
According to Vali, the BTHC won’t have its usual 30 locations this year, but each region of Boston will have a drop-off location.
What else should I know?
Residents who lost their jobs and incomes last year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic could see their tax refunds “negatively impacted,” Vali said.
“The experts at BTHC can work with you to maximize your refund and get the highest income tax credit, or EITC, that you are entitled to,” said Vali.
A “lookback provision” created by Congress as part of the latest stimulus package, city officials say, will allow taxpayers to use their 2019 income to determine their 2020 EITC if their 2019 income is higher than their 2020 income.
Vali said residents should bring their 2019 tax returns to their preparation appointment to calculate their returns under this new rule.
“It can lead to more money for our residents,” he said.
According to Vali, the EITC is a “repayable loan for low-wage workers,” and the average amount returned to taxpayers in 2020 was $ 2,461. However, about 20 percent of all eligible applicants do not receive the credit, he said.
“I cannot say enough about the importance of the EITC and child tax credits,” he said. “These credits can add thousands of dollars to your tax return, but you … can’t get these credits unless you apply for them on your tax return.”
Applicants must have a Social Security number to receive these credits, although applicants with a custom tax ID number can still get their taxes done and get a refund from the IRS, Vali said.
In addition to tax preparation, the BTHC can also refer taxpayers to the city’s “Bank On Boston” initiative, which “helps residents identify banking services that are safe, affordable and non-predatory,” officials said.
As part of the “Boston Builds Credit” program, taxpayers can also receive a financial check: “A one-on-one interview in which a taxpayer can check their creditworthiness using a guide and receive personalized strategies for building credit”. according to the city administration.
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