News Release - City Offers Residents “Tax-Time Toolkit”

City of Rochester

News Release

(Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021) – The City of Rochester’s Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) is partnering with Creating Assets, Savings and Hope (CASH) to provide income-eligible city taxpayers with free “Tax-Time Toolkit” resources for their 2020 tax returns.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused financial hardships for many of our families and businesses,” said Mayor Lovely A. Warren. “During this tax season, we are continuing our tailored tax filing resources through ROC Your Refund and CASH to advance equity, create more jobs, safer more vibrant neighborhoods, and better educational opportunities.”

ROC Your Refund is a matched savings program designed to help families use their tax refunds to build up their savings. Eligible households with at least one dependent can have their taxes prepared and filed with CASH free of charge. Tax filers commit to placing at least $200 of their tax refund into a savings bond. Families are then randomly selected to receive a 50 percent matching grant to their refund money. The refund and the matched funds are distributed to the filer at the end of the program year, when the savings bonds mature.

In addition, the FEC is providing free workshops to help residents identify and map out their financial goals. Counselors are available, free of charge, to help residents increase savings, pay down debt, establish and improve credit, and access safe and affordable banking products. New this year is a workshop for youth ages 8-18 on a range of topics, including starting a business, preparing for life after high school, study skills, and saving money.

“CASH is attuned to the financial struggles that many families are facing and during these difficult times,” said Lacie White, Outreach and Support Specialist for CASH. “Our free online tax preparation service allows people, regardless of their situation, to complete their taxes at their own pace, in the comfort of their own home, and with the support of our certified tax preparers. These services can help families create a financial safety net through their tax refund, which can set them on a path for financial success throughout the year.”

The Tax Time Toolkit includes the following elements:

ROC Your Refund

CASH Free Tax Preparation Program

  • Online filing only;
  • Income requirements;
  • Families with children: Total household income less than $56,000;
  • Families without children: Total household income less than $25,000.
  • Worked and lived in New York State, but not in New York City;
  • Did not own any rental property;
  • Did not sell stocks, bonds, or other financial assets;
  • If self-employed, did not have a loss, have any employees; and business expenses that were less than $25,000.
  • For more information, visit https://empirejustice.org/cash/tax-prep/

Rochester Financial Empowerment Center (FEC)

  • Free, professional, one-on-one financial counseling on such topics as paying down debt, increasing savings, establishing and/or improving credit, and accessing safe and affordable bank accounts and loans.
  • Appointments can be scheduled over the phone or through email: (585) 252-7110 or RochesterFEC@cccsofrochester.org
  • For more information, visit www.rochesterfec.org

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