New Haven Mayor Toni Harp and city and community officials are encouraging more Elm City residents to take advantage of the city’s free tax preparation program.
On Tuesday at City Hall, the mayor kicked off the VITA tax prep program, which allows individuals earning under $54,000 annually to have their tax returns filed for free by a trained volunteer. The effort is coordinated by the Connecticut Association for Human Services.
“This way you have an IRS trained volunteer with special software that can do your taxes free and can make sure you understand everything that is available to you as a person who is eligible for this program” Harp said.
There’s a special focus on residents who qualify for the earned income tax credit--- which can exceed $6,000 for a family of three. Officials say they’re still seeing some people who qualify for the credit but don’t get it, leaving needed money they’re entitled to on the table.
Along with helping prepare the taxes, volunteers from the city and several community organizations will also offer financial literacy training on how to spend any anticipated refund, with an emphasis on saving for the future.
“You’re going to get your return done by people who care about helping you to save those dollars, do a correct filing with the state and federal government,” said Rick Kaiser, leader of the social services division for the City of New Haven.
The city believes only about 5 percent of people who qualified to have their taxes prepared for free did so last tax season.
To find the tax preparation location closest to you, visit www.211ct.org