Mayor Walsh and Boston Tax Help Coalition kick off 2018 season of free tax preparation for residents
Feb 01, 2018
Mayor Martin J. Walsh today joined the Boston Tax Help Coalition
and other community partners at Dorchester's Codman Square Health Center to highlight the free tax preparation services available to low- and moderate-income Boston residents. The Coalition provides free tax preparation services at 35 partner locations throughout the City to help residents who earn $54,000 or less per year maximize the Earned Income Tax Credit and claim the full refunds they are due.
"The free tax services offered throughout the City of Boston will help our residents gain financial security, an important step towards providing more opportunities to succeed," said Mayor Walsh. "I thank our dedicated volunteers who make these efforts possible, and encourage the thousands of residents who are eligible for these services to take advantage of them."
Last year, the Coalition served more than 13,000 taxpayers and returned $26.8 million dollars in refunds and credits directly to taxpayers. More than 400 volunteers contributed to the effort. 2018 marks the seventeenth year that the Boston Tax Help Coalition has provided free tax preparation for Boston residents.
"My parents, like most immigrants to the United States, just wanted to work hard to provide a better life for their children," said Suilisa, 21, a Dorchester resident who is now a volunteer interpreter for the Coalition. "The Boston Tax Help Coalition gave me and my family the help we needed. It is possible to get your taxes done for free. It is possible to save. It is absolutely okay to ask for help when you need it."
In addition to tax preparation services, the Coalition also offers Financial Check-Ups at 12 tax sites. A Financial Check-Up is a one-on-one session in which a taxpayer can review his or her credit score and obtain personalized credit-building strategies from a trained financial guide. This process is a key component of Boston Builds Credit,
the City's new, free credit building program which helps residents improve their credit and move towards long-term financial resilience.
New this year, the Coalition will also introduce taxpayers to Bank On Boston, a recently launched initiative that connects residents with banking accounts and financial services that are safe, affordable, and non-predatory. Taxpayers will be able to open Bank On accounts at their tax sites with the help of such key financial partners as the City of Boston Credit Union, Santander Bank, Bank of America, and Citizens Bank.
"We are so proud of our long years of partnership with the Boston Tax Help Coalition and are delighted to host the launch of their newest season of free services," said Sandra Cotterell, CEO of Codman Square Health Center. "Our organization is committed to serving one of Boston's largest and most vulnerable communities with affordable, quality healthcare that cares for the whole person. As an essential part of that holistic approach, our free tax clinic each year returns millions of dollars into our community and serves to improve our patients' and neighbors' overall well-being."
Daniel Waltz, CEO of the City of Boston Credit Union, and John Drew, CEO of Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), key Coalition partners, also spoke at today's celebration. They were joined by representatives from Codman Square Health Center, one of the Coalition's busiest and longest-serving tax sites, as well as taxpayers who benefit from the services there.
The Office of Financial Empowerment is an affiliate of the Boston Planning & Development Agency.
About the Mayor's Office of Financial Empowerment
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh has made addressing income disparities a priority of his administration. As part of this undertaking, in 2014, he formed the Office of Financial Empowerment, part of the Boston Planning & Development agency. The Office of Financial Empowerment's mission is to connect City residents seeking to improve their financial situation with access to credit building programs, financial education and individualized coaching, and income support. By assisting residents to obtain the tools to achieve financial prosperity, economic well-being can become a reality for Bostonians of all ages. Please visit OFE.Boston.gov
to learn more about the OFE's work.