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Citizens Advice Bureau offers EITC Single Stop program

Are you a low-income senior or working age adult looking for a fast and reliable source for income tax preparation services? Want to avoid having to pay fees associated with the refund anticipation loans (RALs) being peddled by for-profit tax prep services in TV, radio, newspaper, and billboard ads? Then come to the Single Stop program of the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) for assistance. You can get help with your city, state, and federal tax returns, as well as with securing tax credits.

To determine eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) offered to low-income individuals and families, it is recommended that those who seek assistance first visit either of CAB’s Single Stop offices at 1130 Grand Concourse (between 166th and McClellan streets) or 2070 Grand Concourse (just north of the intersection of Burnside Avenue and the Grand Concourse) for a preliminary tax screening, said John Weed, CAB’s assistant executive director. The screening will help determine if individuals qualify for other tax credits (e.g., childcare and property tax), as well as other benefits that can boost low-income New Yorkers’ economic standing.

While retired seniors do not qualify for the EITC, they are eligible for other tax credits and a range of other entitlements. Single Stop staff can help with forms for tax credits and other benefits.

Those screened will be referred for follow-up tax preparation help at CAB’s Morris Senior Center (80 East 181st Street), our Bronx Works office at 391 East 149th Street, or the main branch of Checkspring Bank at 69 East 167th Street, a short walk from the CAB Community Center at 1130 Grand Concourse. The Food Bank for New York is providing tax prep assistance at the Morris Senior Center, while Ariva is offering help at the other two locations.

The tax preparation locations are equipped for electronic filing of tax returns at no extra cost, Weed pointed out. Electronic filing expedites quick refunds without the charges imposed for the “instant cash” refund anticipation loans that for-profit tax services promote.

Days and hours of operation (and phone numbers for further information) are:

• Morris Senior Center, 80 East 181st Street: Monday to Thursday, noon to 7 p.m.; Friday, noon to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (212-894-8094). The location is closed on Mondays and Fridays in March.

• Bronx Works, 391 East 149th Street: Monday and Thursday, 5 to 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (718-993-8880, ext. 238). The location is closed February 16th for Presidents’ Day.

• Checkspring Bank, 60 East 167th Street: Monday thru Thursday, 4 to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (718-202-2983). The location is closed February 16th for Presidents’ Day.

Weed noted that individuals who seek information or assistance that is not tax-related should contact Anna Jones, CAB’s Single Stop assistant director, at (718) 508-3055. As an added incentive, Amalgamated Bank and the Bethex Federal Credit Union encourage filers to learn more about their savings programs. Information will be available at the Morris Senior Center and the Single Stop site at 2070 Grand Concourse. Fore more information call at (718) 841-2665.

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