The Boston Tax Help Coalition will inaugurate its 16th season this Friday (Jan. 27) with an event at Dot House Health featuring remarks from Mayor Martin Walsh. The coalition provides free tax preparation workshops and one-on-one credit- and wealth-building sessions for middle- to low-income residents— or those earning less than $54,000 a year. The event, which will run from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., will emphasize how eligible residents can receive full amounts for earned income credits and correctly apply for financial aid.
Michelle Nadow, the president and CEO of Dot House Health, will lead Friday’s program.
Dorchester residents, she says, have an unprecedented opportunity to get the refunds they deserve by working with one of the 300 IRS-certified volunteers that the coalition has in its network. “They really open up the conversations around financial capacity building, and help people start building their assets,” said Nadow, who added that all of the advisors must be qualified, undergo a rigorous two-day training process, and take an ethics pledge.
Mimi Turchinetz, the director of the Boston Tax Help Coalition, said that the services are offered at no cost. “Our tax preparers are providing as good or better of a service than the paid preparers,” she said in an interview. “We’re a positive alternative to the paid preparers.”
Beyond Dot House, the coalition, which is managed out of the Mayor’s Financial Empowerment office, works with a cross-section of nonprofits, including Codman Square Tech Center, St. Mary Center for Women and Children, the ABCD Family Service Centers in Dorchester and Mattapan and the Menino Library in Hyde Park, which will offer Haitian language translation. All of the centers will be open into April, serving approximately 13,000 Boston residents.
More than 35 sites will open up across Boston over the next week, 13 of which will have financial check-up services—five more than last year. Turchinetz hopes that the hard-working and deserving families and individuals who cannot afford private tax services will utilize this program.
“People shouldn’t have to pay for their own money,” she said. “We can get people looking at their credit report, immediately, and start making decisions in order to develop good credit right away.”
Dot House Health’s Nadow attests to the strength of the programs being offered, and sees the partnership with Boston Tax Help Coalition as an organic extension of Dot House’s mission. “We view health very broadly,” she said. “By supporting people’s economic health, we’re working to support their overall health.”