Free tax assistance for local residents
The Cleveland Foodbank is offering four free federal and state tax filing clinics to the residents of the Collinwood area in conjunction with the Ohio Benefit Bank, the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks, and the EITC Coalition. The first tax clinic was held on January 29th helped 22 people file their federal and state tax returns and receive a total of $28,731 in refunds.
“My tax counselor today was just as helpful and professional as the paid tax preparers I’ve used in the past. There was a lot of privacy and courteousness, which I really appreciated,” remarked a client who came to the January 29th clinic.
The program used to file the taxes, The Ohio Benefit Bank (OBB), is an Internet-based program that connects low- and moderate-income Ohioans with access to tax filing assistance and work supports, such as food assistance and the Home Energy Assistance Program. The OBB is implemented through a public-private partnership between the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks, the State of Ohio, and over 1,100 faith-based and community organizations across Ohio.
At the tax clinics, trained OBB tax counselors, use the software program to screen for different tax credits, like Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credits, and Education Credits. In 2010, these free tax clinics returned $420,000 to 240 Collinwood community members.
The 2011 tax clinics will be held at the Collinwood Public Library on Saturday March 5th and 19th, and April 9th from 10:30-5:00. Clinics will also be held at the Cleveland Foodbank on Wednesday March 9th from 2:30-7:30. Appointments can be made by calling 211 on a landline or 216-436-2000 on a cell phone.
This service is available for free to most Ohioans with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $60,000 or less. Eligible individuals may also use the self-serve option from any computer and file their taxes without the help of an OBB counselor by going to www.ohiobenefits.org. Again, all Ohio Benefit Bank services are offered free of charge.