A group of non-profit agencies including Catholic Charities, Diocese of Camden, launched a free tax preparation service for low-income families on Dec. 13, at Camden County College in Camden.
The agencies sponsoring the project are part of The Camden Asset Network (CAN), which also include United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey and the Internal Revenue Service.
Kevin Hickey, executive director of Catholic Charities, noted that proper tax preparation can help low-income families (with household incomes up to $51,000) keep more of their money through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and other tax credits.
“The EITC and other tax credits can provide up to a third of a family’s annual income. Tax time is an opportunity to build assets, through options such as savings accounts and financial assistance for education,” said Hickey.
CAN provides free income tax preparation at its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites to help individuals and families with household incomes under $51,000 access their Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and other tax credits.
CAN’s community partners have come together to help people in Camden access free tax preparation and gain their full tax refund. At least 90 percent of Camden residents qualify for free tax preparation, yet IRS statistics show that less than 2 percent of qualified filers have their returns prepared at free VITA sites.
Camden Asset Network’s community partners also include Camden County College, Center for Family Services, Cramer Hill CDC, Hispanic Family Center, LAEDA, PathWays, and the Puerto Rican Unity for Progress.