LEWISTON – The Lewiston-Auburn Tax Credit Awareness Coalition’s IRS-trained volunteers prepared tax returns for 748 clients this year.

In all this year, $958,722 in federal benefits were claimed by residents, including $410,306 in earned income tax credit benefits. State benefits claimed totaled $175,221. Free tax prep sites operated until March 31 this year.

Mayor Lionel C. Guay Jr. stated, “The benefits claimed from this year’s campaign are at an all-time high across the board – federal benefits, state benefits, and EITC benefits. It’s also important to note that in addition to assisting area families, our local economy continues to receive an annual boost from the EITC awareness effort, as refunds are utilized within our community.”

Since 2004, the coalition has actively promoted EITC awareness so that more eligible low and moderate income workers will apply for the federal benefit toward increasing their financial stability.

The benefit is intended to reduce the tax burden on those workers, supplement wages, and assist in the welfare-to-work transition and is in addition to any other tax credit a worker may be eligible for.

Volunteers recognized by the Internal Revenue Service and Casey Family Services, both coalition partners, were Mary Ann Wearing, Melody Fish, Paul Maheux, Gail Plante, Rhoby Treadwell, Chris Adler, Dave Adler, Sue Martin, Lou MacDonald, Tamara Heligman, Carol Chrichley, Paul Scalzone, Alan Collins, Carolyn Court, Monica Lee, Brenda Ambrose, Celia Gould, Tom Carignan, Cheryl Black, and Taylor Warren. AARP tax preparers who assisted the coalition’s preparers were Don Linscott, Francis Lodge, Richard Moore, Andy Michaud and Richard Beaulieu.

KC Geiger was also recognized as site coordinator for supervising the three tax prep sites, along with volunteer appointment scheduler, Richard Landry, an Andover College intern. In addition, Dottie Perham-Whittier and Chris Adler were recognized for their service as co-chairs of the coalition.

The EITC advocacy campaign is funded by The Annie E. Casey Foundation.