Friday, February 19, 2010

Free tax filing help at the Capitol, Feb 27

On Saturday February 27, 2010, from 9 am to 2 pm, IRS-certified volunteers take over Conference Room 329 of the State Capitol to assist taxpayers in filing their annual tax returns. In partnership with the Hawaii Alliance for Community-Based Economic Development (HACBED) and its partner organizations, state legislators* are hosting this special tax clinic to encourage low-to-moderate income taxpayers to save money and claim valuable tax credits. Last year alone, HACBED, its community partners, and 169 volunteers helped low-to-moderate income taxpayers claim over $3 million in tax refunds and over $1.7 million in EITC and Child Tax Credits, saving these taxpayers nearly $400,000 in tax preparation fees.

"There are many in our community who are unaware that they qualify for the EITC and need help in preparing their taxes," says Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland about this free community service for all taxpayers.

“We want to encourage Hawaii’s workers to use these free services early in the tax season to allow them to claim important tax benefits such as the EITC which can be worth from $457 and up to $5,657 for qualified taxpayers this year,” states Representative Della Au Belatti. “Tax clinics like this one at the State Capitol provide a valuable service for our hard-working taxpayers.”

As part of this special tax clinic, taxpayers will be able to file their tax returns for free and receive information about programs that may be of interest to them, including financial literacy classes and credit management. Tax preparation sessions are confidential and safe. All tax returns will be prepared by IRS-certified volunteers who volunteer at other sites coordinated by HACBED’s Family and Individual Self-Sufficiency Program.

HACBED’s Family and Individual Self-Sufficiency Program started offering these free tax assistance services to low-to-moderate income workers at four permanent sites in 2005 when it was first established under Aloha United Way. Today, this statewide Program recruits volunteers
for and coordinates the efforts of over 40 sites and clinics that are sponsored by non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and businesses. Some of the Program’s community partners include Alulike, Inc., Leeward Community College, Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii, the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, Honolulu Community Action Program, INGDirect, Goodwill Industries, and several credit unions in Kekaha, Hickam, and Maui.

For help locating other free tax assistance sites, taxpayers can call Aloha United Way’s Helpline at 2-1-1. For a complete list of tax sites on Oahu, Big Island, Maui, and Kauai, more information about the EITC, other tax credits, and HACBED’s Family and Individual Self-Sufficiency Program, taxpayers should visit the Program’s website at

For more information about the special clinic at the Hawaii State Capitol and to make an appointment, taxpayers should call 808-393-4364. Free parking will be available at the public's blue-metered stalls in the Capitol basement.

*State legislators sponsoring this first-time free tax clinic at the State Capitol are Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland, Representatives Karen Awana, Della Au Belatti, John Mizuno, Karl Rhoads, and Maile Shimabukuro.

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