EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

March 7, 2014

Free tax preparation help offered for low-income residents

United Way of Massachusetts Bay & Merrimack Valley, in partnership with Bank of America, is once again providing low-income residents and families with opportunities for free tax prep assistance and help maximizing the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) through free services at local sites. The Bank of America Charitable Foundation has invested $125,000 in United Way to promote outreach to individuals and families eligible to receive the EITC and recruit tax prep volunteers. Last year, this effort resulted in more than $6.4 million dollars in tax refunds for over 4,200 families — money that has supported local communities while helping our neediest families, which often goes unclaimed.

“The volunteer tax assistance (VITA) program provides tax prep services to those who might not otherwise be able to afford it, putting money in their pockets and providing a boost to the local economy,” said Bob Gallery, Massachusetts president, Bank of America. “In addition to our financial support of United Way, I know our volunteers relish the chance to share their financial know-how with their neighbors.”

In an effort to reach even more families this year, United Way has also expanded its partnership with the Massachusetts Association of Community Action Programs (MASSCAP), granting $15,000 to fund four of their VITA sites in Lowell, Haverhill, Chelsea and Malden. In addition to the VITA sites, United Way continues to provide funding and volunteers for tax prep at partner agencies in Boston, Chelsea, Lawrence, Quincy, and Waltham.

Locally, Free tax prep locations include: Greater Lawrence Community Action, 350 Essex St., Lawrence; Lawrence CommunityWorks, 168 Newbury St., Lawrence; Community Action, Inc., 145 Essex St. Haverhill and Community Teamwork Inc., 17 Kirk St., Lowell.

Candidates forum set for Monday

ANDOVER — The two candidates for an open seat on the Board of Selectmen — the only contested race in town this year — will go before the public for a League of Women Voters forum on Monday night at 7 in the upstairs hall at Memorial Hall Library, 2 North Main St.

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