Last week, I had the privilege of celebrating another successful tax season with C.A.S.H.  volunteers. This was our 11th year of providing free tax prep services to working families in Monroe County.
From January through April, nearly 500 volunteers helped complete more than 13,000 federal and NYS tax returns, claiming more than $25 million in tax refunds and credits. In addition to having tax returns prepared, people who came to C.A.S.H. learned about community resources that can improve their families’ economic security and financial future - programs for saving, home buying, credit repair, affordable health care, banking and more!
People who come to C.A.S.H. for help at tax time save on average $250 – the fee that typical paid preparers charge. That means more than $3 million stayed in the pockets of hard working families – money they can use to put food on the table, pay rent, and take care of their kids.
About half of the families who come to C.A.S.H. are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This is a special tax benefit offered by the Federal government and New York State for working people who earn low or moderate incomes that helps lift them out of poverty. Hard working families use this money to meet basic needs like rent, medical bills, transportation to get to work, and clothes for their kids. Only families who work can claim these credits.
Every year, our volunteers tell me how much satisfaction they get from working at C.A.S.H. Many have said it’s the best thing they’ve ever done, but not every volunteer prepares taxes. Some work at the front desk, welcoming people as they arrive and helping them with paperwork. Others share information about the many resources our community has for helping people make the most of their money. C.A.S.H. provides all the training volunteers need to have a rewarding experience helping others in our community.
To learn more about C.A.S.H., go to www.empirejustice.org/cash.
 C.A.S.H. (Creating Assets, Savings and Hope) is a community coalition led by Empire Justice Center and United Way of Greater Rochester. Our mission is creating opportunities for low income workers in Monroe County to “get, keep, and grow” their money.