Mayor Michelle Wu announced the launch of the Boston Tax Help Coalition’s (BTHC) twenty-second year of providing free tax preparation services. Area residents earning $70,000 or less annually can file safely while maximizing their refunds and credits at over 30 neighborhood tax sites. Tax preparation is available remotely and in-person in English, Spanish, Haitian Creole, Cape Verdean Creole, Portuguese, French, Vietnamese, Mandarin, and Cantonese. The schedule can be found at boston.gov/tax-help.
“Boston residents can save hundreds of dollars per household through the Boston Tax Help Coalition’s free tax preparation,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “These free, multilingual tax assistance services are available at over thirty neighborhood locations and serve as a critical resource that supports thousands of Boston residents every year in maximizing their refunds safely. I encourage every qualified Boston resident to take advantage of this valuable program.”
Led by the Center for Working Families, the Boston Tax Help Coalition is a partnership of nonprofits, businesses, and community organizations that has been promoting the economic independence of working individuals and families since 2001. The BTHC’s free tax preparation service gives Boston’s low-to-moderate income (LMI) residents a financial boost by eliminating tax preparation fees and allowing them to keep more of their earned income. The Coalition’s IRS-certified tax preparers also assess filers’ eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a credit for low- and middle-income workers, and the Child Tax Credit. In 2023, BTHC prepared tax returns for nearly 11,000 taxpayers, generating $17.2 million in tax refunds, including $6.3 million in EITC, and saving families approximately $2.7 million in predatory, for-profit, tax preparation fees.
“Our special thanks to the hundreds of Coalition volunteers who generously give their time and talent from January through April, including an entire weekend of training prior to serving our residents,” said Chief of Worker Empowerment Trinh Nguyen. “These volunteers learn to prepare taxes, do intake, and/or provide credit building, while making a difference in our community. We value their contribution to this important work.”
“As a co-founder of the Boston Tax Help Coalition, ABCD is always pleased and excited to launch a new tax season with the City of Boston, Mayor Michelle Wu and so many other community partners,” said ABCD President and CEO Sharon Scott-Chandler. “Free tax preparation is vital to underserved communities who can benefit from this service, and is a program that returns millions back into the community. Most people will receive a refund, which is essential during these times when prices for basics like food and housing are soaring. It also provides an opportunity to save for emergencies or longer term goals.”
A key priority of the BTHC is integrating free tax preparation with the needs of the disability community. The BTHC partners with DEAF, Inc. to provide the service to hearing-impaired taxpayers at its Allston headquarters. Additionally, the Coalition is in its second year of its Visually Impaired People (VIP) pilot, providing tax services and necessary accommodations to visually impaired area residents. The VIP program will be available on Wednesdays, February 7 through April 10, 2024 at the Center for Working Families in Nubian Square. More information can be found at boston.gov/vip-pilot. Site coordinators receive training to serve disabled taxpayers at all locations.
“I applaud the City’s commitment to providing fully inclusive and accessible tax preparation services to residents who are legally blind,” said Massachusetts Commission for the Blind Commissioner John Olivera. “I encourage eligible residents to take advantage of this program and make tax season less stressful.”
In addition to helping LMI taxpayers maximize their refunds, the Boston Tax Help Coalition connects residents to free financial services to improve their economic wellbeing. For example, at eight locations individuals can receive a Financial Check-Up (FCU), a light-touch credit advising session where a trained Financial Guide assists individual taxpayers in understanding their current financial situation, including a review of their credit report and FICO score, a personalized one-year plan to help improve their credit, and relevant service referrals. Boston Builds Credit, the City’s credit building initiative, will follow up in six months with an updated credit report to measure improvement. In 2023, the BTHC provided credit advising and financial education to 1,300+ tax clients, up from 486 in 2022. More information on the Boston Tax Help Coalition’s free tax services, including locations, can be found at boston.gov/tax-help.