Organization offering free tax assistance amid COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 3:42 PM, Jun 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-25 15:43:01-04

BALTIMORE — The coronavirus pandemic has had an effect on almost every part of our lives, whether it be our mental health, employment status or losing the ability to see our loved ones in a way we'd like to.

Because of the pandemic, the IRS and Maryland Comptroller extended the tax filing deadline to July 15.

Doing your taxes can be stressful any average year, but with the pandemic going on, that stress has surely doubled. Maybe you've just lost your job or money has recently become tight for you, the CASH Campaign of Maryland is a nonprofit organization that is here to help alleviate those struggles.

The organization provides free volunteer income tax assistance (VITA) to help low-income individuals and families file tax returns, avoid predatory fees and claim the Earned Income Tax Credit and during the pandemic, they're providing free remote tax preparation!

"All they really need is a smartphone access to the internet and an email address," said Francesca Jean Baptiste Director, Tax Partnerships with CASH Campaign. "We're able to do the tax preparation services over the phone. So people don't have to come into an office or anything we're moving everything virtually."

To get involved, all one has to do is head to their website and sign up for their service. Baptiste says that they're focused on serving those who earned under $56,000 in 2019, so they'd sign up using the form on the website. After they finish the forms, the client receives an email with instructions on how to download their app and what they will need to complete their taxes.

One of the clients, Abby Cady has been using the organization for the past few years and said that the system itself was very smooth.

"It was just like an in person appointment," she said. "Instead of bringing all my documents and handing them to someone, I was just taking photos of them. If you can use a smartphone, you can do this."

Another client, Emmanuel Barnes said that even though it was virtual, it was really more over the phone and an easy process to follow.

"As long as you take your time and just listen to the directions and just follow them, even the older community can do it and get it done and can go through the same process."

This isn't the only service that CASH Campaign offers, they also have a variety of financial education classes, including financial plans, improving your credit score and free financial coaching.

For more information on those programs, click here.