LEWISTON — The Lewiston-Auburn CA$H Coalition, of which Lewiston has taken a leadership role since 2004, received an Outstanding IRS Partnership Award recently from IRS stakeholder relationship tax consultant Tess Armstrong.

Armstrong presented the award during a coalition brainstorming regarding the 2010 tax season. She praised the group for its consistent and effective community outreach in regards to the earned income tax credit, a federal benefit for low-to-moderate income workers.

During the last six tax seasons, IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers have e-filed federal and state tax returns, free of charge, for area workers, resulting in $7,934,674 in refund claims. Providing financial education and asset-building opportunities have also been a priority of the coalition.

The city of Lewiston has been at the forefront of the multi-partner EITC campaign and was awarded a City Livability Award in 2006 for its leadership in that regard, and its EITC advocacy was also a major part of its award-winning 2007 All-America City application/competition focusing on civic engagement.

Other coalition partners are: City of Auburn; Internal Revenue Service; Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce; Androscoggin Head Start and Child Care; Empower Lewiston, Women, Work and Community; Department of Justice Community Capacity Weed and Seed; Key Bank; Pine Tree Legal; Consumer Credit Counseling of Maine; Lewiston CareerCenter; Casey Family Services; The Annie E. Casey Foundation; Coastal Enterprises Inc.; New American Sustainable Agriculture Project; Lewiston Adult Education; Lewiston Housing Authority – Hillview; Maine Migrant Workers; AARP Tax Aide Program; United Somali Women of Maine; Volunteers of America; HUD; and retired senior citizens.

Annual funding has been provided by The Annie E. Casey Foundation and donations by coalition partners.

In 2010, from January to March, free tax preparation sites will again be located at the Multi-Purpose Center, Lewiston, and Auburn City Building. For additional information about the coalition and/or the Earned Income Tax Credit, individuals may call 513-3000, extension 3205; TTY/TDD 513-3007.

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