Tax season is a stressful time for everyone, so we sat down with our partners from the CA$H Maine Program to help connect community members to this amazing resource. CA$H Maine serves the whole state, and has locations from York County to Aroostook County, including areas where many New Mainers live, such as Augusta, Bangor, Greater Portland, Lewiston, and Waterville.
Q: What do people need to know about being eligible for support from CA$H?
CA$H services are intended to serve people with a total household earned income of $58,000 or less in 2021. Clients with any employment outside of Maine during 2021 are not eligible, as we only prepare federal and Maine state returns. Some returns may be out of scope based on individual circumstances.
Q: How much does it cost to file your taxes with CA$H?
CA$H is a completely free service!
Q: What do I need to have a successful appointment?
To have a successful experience with CA$H, it is helpful to have all of your documents organized in advance, including picture ID (such as a valid driver’s license) for the person filing (and spouse, if married filing jointly), Social Security cards (or ITIN letters) for all people claimed on your tax return, and all tax documents (such as Forms W—2, 1099, 1098, 1095). You’ll be able to pick up a packet of all intake materials if you use our Scan & Go service, or upload them to the GetYourRefund website yourself when it’s live.
Q: Are all meetings digital? How do I submit my paperwork (above)?
To prioritize safety during the pandemic, CA$H will not be holding the in-person tax sites as they have in past years. This year, they will continue to participate in a non-profit service built by Code for America in partnership with IRS-certified VITA sites nationwide. This service, called GetYourRefund, allows them to provide online tax preparation to their clients.
If you have access to an internet-ready device (desktop, mobile, or tablet) and an email address and phone number, you’ll be able to visit the GetYourRefund website on your own to fill out the intake questions. You will be prompted to take and upload photos of your identification and tax documents to a secure location. CA$H IRS-certified intake volunteers will then view your documents and reach out to schedule a phone conversation to review everything with you. Then an IRS-certified tax preparer will virtually prepare your return, and you’ll be alerted when it’s time to schedule a call for you to review your return with a volunteer who checked the tax preparer’s work. Then you’ll be sent the return and a form you’ll sign to agree to have us file the return electronically with the IRS.
CA$H Greater Portland will also be partnering with cPort Credit Union and Portland Housing Authority to host Scan & Go sites where you could go to pick up an intake packet and then have your information scanned into the system if you do not have access to the technology for the fully virtual process above. All clients must be able to have two phone conversations with the team during the process.
Q: How can I sign up?
When you have received all of your tax documents for 2021, visit cashmaine.org to connect with our virtual process and/or to see when our local drop-off/pick-up sites are up and running, likely in February 2022.
Q: What are the main advantages of filing my taxes through CA$H?
CA$H is a free service offered by friendly, IRS-certified volunteers. They’ll make you sure you receive the tax credits for which you are eligible, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit.
Q: Do you offer interpretation or any translated materials?
The Get Your Refund website is available in English and Spanish. Clients can indicate other language preferences during the intake process and we can work with the client to find a solution. This year the IRS is providing access to an Over-the-Phone Interpretation service. Multilingual volunteers are always welcome to join our team! Feel free to email [email protected] to express interest in volunteering or ask any other questions.
CA$H is more than a tax preparation program. Tax clients also have the opportunity to discuss financial goals and challenges with a trained volunteer and get connected to local resources to help build financial stability. The CA$H program provides guidance and helps answer questions so that client can make the best financial decisions for themselves and their family.