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Free Online Tax Preparation, Electronic Filing Services Available to Hundreds of Thousands of Eligible New York Residents


Congressman Rangel Guest Speaker at Food Bank For New York City and CCIA Press Conference to Promote Free Tax Help

New York—April 6, 2009 - The Food Bank For New York City hosted the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) at a press conference this morning with guest speaker Congressman Charlie Rangel at the Food Bank’s Food and Finance Center on St. Nicholas Avenue, Harlem, to remind taxpayers there is still time to get free tax assistance in person at the Food Bank and online through the IRS’ and New York State Free File Alliance programs. 

With 9 days until April 15th, Congressman Rangel urged taxpayers to use the free IRS resources that are available in the community and online to help people file their returns by the annual deadline. The Food Bank is the first free tax assistance program in the country to offer taxpayers two IRS programs for preparing their returns for free: 
• Option one: an IRS-trained Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) person prepares the tax return;
• Option two: the taxpayer prepares the federal, state and city returns on his/her own using commercial software available through the IRS and New York State Free File Alliances and with coaching from tax experts and trained volunteers. 

During the 2008 tax season, the Food Bank prepared over 50,000 returns at 11 sites throughout the city and helped low-income New Yorkers receive more than $100,000 million in tax refunds, credits and stimulus payments.

One group of volunteers – trained students from the Frederick Douglass Academy – were on hand to demonstrate how they and others have helped taxpayers at Food Bank’s St. Nicholas Avenue site use Intuit Inc.’s Free File product offering, TurboTax Freedom Edition, as a service to the community.

Speaking about the IRS Free File program, Congressman Rangel said, “Like nearly every other state in the nation, New York is facing a budget deficit this year, and many New York residents are feeling the effects. The idea that government and industry got together years ago to create this Free File program is pretty remarkable, and I want to make sure that every eligible taxpayer knows Free File is a great option available 24/7 online (www.irs.gov) and at designated hours at our own Food Bank site on St. Nicholas Avenue.”  

“The IRS and the state don’t pay a dime for this program and neither do New York state taxpayers.  This is one of those rare examples of good news during tax season.”  Congressman Rangel continued, “Hundreds of thousands of New York state residents are entitled to receive the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) a tax program specifically designed to help hard working Americans. But the IRS tells us that as many as 20 percent of those eligible never file for it. Free File helps you claim every credit and deduction, including EITC.”

Dr. Lucy Cabrera, President and CEO of the Food Bank For New York City, encouraged all  New York City taxpayer to take advantage of this free tax preparation options. “The Earned Income Tax Credit and our free tax assistance program are bright spots in this dark economy,” said Dr. Lucy Cabrera. “By providing much-needed cash to those individuals and families who are working hard and still struggling to make ends meet, the stimulus effect is immediate and local.  Success like this requires teamwork and would not be possible without our partnership with Intuit and the IRS, who provide free software, hardware and support.”

Ed Black, representing the event sponsor CCIA, was also at the Food and Finance Center. “We are thrilled to be back again with Congressman Rangel and Dr. Cabrera.  Congressman Rangel, Dr. Cabrera and CCIA are all strong advocates for fostering innovative public-private partnerships that put technology’s tools into everyone’s hands.”   

Mr. Black was joined by Bernie McKay, with the Intuit Financial Freedom Foundation. “We are proud to donate TurboTax Freedom Edition through the IRS and New York state Free File programs and pleased to provide the funding and support to enable Food Bank to deliver this important service to working families, lower-income filers, students and the men and women in uniform so bravely serving our country,” said McKay. “Having donated more than 18 million returns to qualified taxpayers since 1998, our donation of TurboTax is our largest philanthropic initiative. We are delighted to be back again with Congressman Rangel to help spread the word so that qualified taxpayers can get their income taxes electronically prepared and e-filed safely, quickly and for free.”

About the Food Bank For New York City
Food Bank For New York City recognizes 25 years as the city’s major provider of food to New Yorkers in need.  The organization works to end food poverty and increase access to affordable, nutritious food for low-income New Yorkers through a range of programs and services that focus on food sourcing and distribution, education and nutrition, financial empowerment, disaster relief, policy and research.
 
Food Bank For New York City sources and distributes food to more than 1,000 food assistance programs, assisting the approximately 1.3 million New Yorkers who access emergency food. The Food Bank provides food safety, networking and capacity-building workshops; manages nutrition education programs for schools, after-school and emergency food programs; operates food stamp outreach and education programs; operates senior programs, a soup kitchen and food pantry; coordinates the largest civilian Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program in the country; and develops policy and conducts research to inform community and government efforts to end food poverty throughout New York City. For every dollar donated to the Food Bank, 96 cents goes toward food acquisition, distribution and programs. For additional information, visit foodbanknyc.org

About CCIA
CCIA is a nonprofit membership organization for a wide range of companies in the computer, Internet, information technology, and telecommunications industries, represented by their senior executives. Created over three decades ago, CCIA promotes open markets, open systems, open networks, and full, fair, and open competition. CCIA serves as an additional, and sometimes the only, eyes, ears, and voice, in Washington for our members. Our goal is to proactively protect and promote their legitimate interests, and to advance the broad common interests of our industries.

About the Intuit Financial Freedom Foundation
The Intuit Financial Freedom Foundation is dedicated to programs and projects that promote financial literacy and independence among disadvantaged, lower income individuals, small businesses, and the nonprofit organizations that serve them.  By donating Intuit software and online services, the Foundation helps people and organizations master their finances and bridge the digital divide.

The Foundation’s signature programs are the Intuit Tax Freedom Project through which Intuit donates TurboTax online tax preparation and filing services through the IRS Free File Alliance and 21 state Free File programs, the Quicken and QuickBooks Product Donation Programs and sponsorship of California First Lady Maria Shriver’s We Connect Campaign.  For more information, please visit www.IntuitEmpowers.com

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