Chhaya CDC, an Indian American anti-poverty non-profit organization founded in 2000, launched the expansion of its Free Tax Prep Services in the area of Richmond Hill, Queens on Wednesday, Feb. 7.
Chhaya began to offer these services last year with the support of NYC’s Department of Consumer Affairs and has also offered Free Tax Prep in additional languages while helping nearly 100 families claim the powerful asset building tool of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
Chhaya is working with the Queens Public Library at their Lefferts Branch, to serve the communities of Richmond Hill, South Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and South Ozone Park.
One out of every five households in these neighborhoods lives in poverty and could benefit from access to free, professional-quality tax preparation services.
Chhaya CDC is the only South Asian and Indo-Caribbean community development organization, whose mission is advocate for and build economically stable, sustainable and thriving communities.
Tax preparation is often a daunting and expensive endeavor for low to moderate income individuals, often not seen as an opportunity and many qualified individuals do not take advantage of the EITC, which ends up leaving thousands of dollars on the table that can be invested into education, paying off a loan, upgrading a household appliance, moving and more.
“Chhaya’s Free Tax Prep program will be the first of its kind in this community. Building on our other immigration and housing counseling services in this neighborhood, this is an important next step in expanding Chhaya’s programs to the Richmond Hill community, which is a desert when it comes to social services. Each tax prep client will be provided a list of wrap around services connected to Chhaya’s work in housing, financial capability, and immigration,” Chhaya CDC’s Executive Director Annetta Seecharran, said in a press release.
“The reason why Queens Library Is able to provide free, high-quality services such as free tax preparation is because of our partnerships with outstanding organizations such as Chhaya CDC and government agencies such as the Department of Consumer Affairs. They make it possible for us meet our mission to build strong communities and give our customers the information and resources to help them grow personally and intellectually,” Queens Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott, said in a press release.
“Since 2015 we have helped New Yorkers file more than 425,000 returns for free and claim refund-boosting tax credits that can be pivotal in helping them pay bills, get out of debt and save for their future. We are proud to be working with Chhaya CDC again this year to expand our trusted and professional free tax prep services to previously underserved communities. I encourage all New Yorkers to take advantage of this free program to ensure that their returns are completed accurately and that they are receiving every credit and deduction available to them, including the EITC,” DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas, said in a press release.
NYC Free Tax Prep will be offered at Lefferts Library on Wednesdays, Feb. 21, Mar. 7, Mar. 21 and Apr. 4 at 11 a.m.
The service is free for families or individuals who earned below $66,000 in 2017.
For more information about NYC Free Tax Prep, visit nyc.gov/taxprep or call 311. You can also text “Taxes” to 42033 (message and data rates may apply) to find the nearest location and receive tax season updates and reminders and join the #FreeTaxPrep conversation on @NYCDCA’s social media channels.