LEWISTON – The Lewiston-Auburn Tax Credit Awareness Coalition is being featured as a successful Earned Income Tax Credit initiative by the National Community Tax Coalition. The EITC is a federal benefit for low and middle income workers.

On Dec. 1 the national coalition Web site launched a detailed profile on the local coalition’s efforts to promote the tax credit, establish free tax preparation sites and provide asset building information. The profile will also be featured in the coalition’s “Tax Buzz” publication.

As part of the Center for Economic Progress, the National Community Tax Coalition has more than 300 affiliates from 40 states with the goal of increasing access to tax credits, benefits and asset-building opportunities for low- and moderate-income individuals, families and communities.

The coalition gathers the expertise of community-based free tax preparation and low-income tax credit outreach groups from around the country to share practices, identify program needs, work together to develop public policy favorable to low-income taxpayers, and offers technical assistance and training to new and emerging community tax preparation and outreach efforts.

The LA Coalition has led the state in EITC initiatives and results for the last two years, returning more than $1 million in federal benefits to the Lewiston-Auburn community.

Don Wedd, member services manager from the National Community Tax Coalition, said, “I’m amazed at how much media and community support the coalition has enjoyed. I suppose it is a benefit of a small community pulling together and taking responsibility for each other.”

Mayor Lionel C. Guay Jr., who has been an advocate of the local coalition’s efforts, said, “The positive network of community partners for this effort has resulted in tremendous benefits for our residents and their families. As such, the coalition is currently gearing up for the 2006 tax season with volunteers lined up for IRS training, free tax preparation sites established and planning under way for asset building opportunities. We hope that even more eligible individuals will seek out this federal benefit in 2006.”

Community entities partnering with the Lewiston-Auburn Tax Credit Awareness Coalition include the city of Lewiston, the city of Auburn, Internal Revenue Service, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Casey Family Services, Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce, Androscoggin County Head Start and Child Care, Maine Center for Financial Education, AARP, Department of Justice Community Capacity Development Weed and Seed Program, United Way of Androscoggin County, Andover College, Lewiston Career Center and Coastal Enterprises Inc.

The LA profile can be found on the National Community Tax Coalition’s Web site at www.tax-coalition.org (under newsletter – profiles).


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