Free tax preparation services for families who need them

As we’ve done in the past, Avesta is spreading the word about free tax preparation services available for households who need them. Families are fortunate that there are so many ways to get free tax help instead of paying someone to file your taxes, or, worse, getting a refund anticipation loan that carries excessive fees and ridiculous interest.money jar

We’re partnering with Gorham Savings Bank and the United Way to sponsor a week of free tax preparation events beginning today. IRS-certified tax preparers will be on hand to help you prepare and file your taxes, check your credit report, and apply for Maine’s property tax and rent refund programs. The events are February 26-28 from 5-8 p.m. and Saturday, March 2, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., happening at United Way’s office at 1 Canal Plaza, third floor. They’re available to people who made less than $51,000 in 2012.

If you can’t make it to an event, you can stop by our new HomeOwnership Center any time during tax season. Contact me to find out more or make an appointment. The United Way is also open to help, so give them a call at 874-1000.

If you’d rather take care of your taxes from your living room, and you made less than $57,000 in 2012, you can go to myfreetaxes.com/Maine and file both their state and federal taxes for free. The online software is easy to use and features a toll-free number to call if you have questions.

Taking advantage of these free services will save you up to $200 in fees you’d pay elsewhere for tax preparation, and we’ll help you apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which could give you up to $5,891.

Visit cashgp.org for more information.

And check out this space in a couple weeks for smart ways to spend your tax refund. Hint: playing the slots at Oxford Casino is not on the list.

By David Stolt, Home Ownership Services Manager