Taxes . . . dun dun dun . . .
If just hearing the word made you cringe, fear not! I’m here to help. Income tax preparation is an intimidating thing for most people. Unless you’re an account or some sort of math wizard, you probably have to make the choice between trying to do your own taxes (and possibly drowning in paperwork in the attempt) or paying a professional to do them for you. Neither option really seems that appealing to me.
That’s where CA$H Maine comes in to save the day! CA$H is a non-profit organization that works to improve financial stability in our state. One of the many services they provide is free federal and state income tax preparation. There are 42 CA$H Maine tax sites statewide. If you, or your household, made $54,000 or less in 2015, you should consider getting your taxes done at CA$H this season. Here’s 5 reason why:
- It’s FREE! Paid preparers give you peace of mind that your taxes will be done correctly. But they can also be expensive. The average American spends around $261 each year on tax prep. CA$H Maine is providing the same service 100% free of charge. No fees. There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but thanks to CA$H Maine there is free tax preparation.
- You get professional help from an IRS-certified volunteer. All CA$H Maine volunteer tax preparers are IRS-certified. They go through extensive in person and online training prior to working at a tax site. By the time they meet with you, they know all the ins and outs of this year’s tax forms. It’s professional grade assistance without the price tag.
- It’s safe and secure. Tax filing involves a lot of personal information, including social security numbers, salaries, and insurance data. You don’t want to share that info with just anybody. But CA$H Maine tax sites have procedures in place to make sure that your info stays safe. No security concerns here!
- There’s friendly faces with great asset-building advice. The volunteers at CA$H Maine are the best. They’re helpful and friendly. Plus they’re trained not only in tax preparation, but in how to connect you with other financial resources in your community. So if have you have a question about how to improve your credit score or how you can get help heating your home this winter, CA$H volunteers can help.
- Did I mention it’s FREE?! That’s amazing. When was the last time you got something for free? Since 2004 CA$H Greater Portland has helped 6,552 individuals and families file their taxes for free. That’s saved our community roughly $1.2 million in preparation fees. And that’s just in Greater Portland! Why wouldn’t you take advantage of a service that saves you that much money?
One final tip – check out CA$H Maine’s “Do-It-Yourself” option. If your individual or combined household income for 2015 is $62,000 or less you can file your federal and state income taxes for free online! Visit myfreetaxes.com to learn how. I used myfreetaxes.com last year to file my taxes and it was great. If I can figure it out, anyone can.
Happy Tax Season!