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Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition helping Cuyahoga County residents with free tax prep

Taxes
Posted at 5:08 PM, May 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-19 19:21:01-04

CLEVELAND — It’s been such a help to her, especially during these times.

"Free is always good for me,” said Teresa McCurry while laughing.

McCurry has been using the free tax preparation services from the EITC Tax Coalition for two years.

She was referred by CHN Housing Partners, they team up with them on the project.

"This program was just as professional, just as good as somebody we have paid in the past to prepare our taxes,” said McCurry. "I do like a little side business and the lady, Rosetta, that helped prepare our taxes, she was like 'Oh, we can write this off or we can write that off.'”

Just like everyone else, the tax coalition was forced to close, but they made it work.

"We were able to go from what was a traditionally in-person experience providing tax preparation to a completely virtual process,” said Kathy Matthews, senior program director EITC Tax Coalition for Cuyahoga County.

Low-income families who earn less than $55,900 a year and still need their taxes done before the new July 15 deadline can use any of their three services from home that were designed and approved by the IRS.

"Interact with a volunteer through Zoom and the tax return is prepared right there during the call,” said Matthews. "The tax payer can upload their financial documents into our software and we call it our virtual drop off and then we complete the return and then we call the client and verify all the information that we need to. Our volunteer will be on the phone while the tax payer is completing the return on their own so that they can complete the return and e-file for free.”

Folks who aren’t required to file a tax return and can’t access the IRS’s online portal to get their stimulus checks can also get help from the tax coalition. McCurry says it's been an okay year for her, so she already knows how she’ll be using her refund.

"We have a list of people that we want to call and we want to bless them,” she said. “So that’s what we want to do, we want to pay it forward this year.”

You can get access to any of these services by calling 211 or going to the EITC Tax Coalition website.

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