LEWISTON — An effort to help poor and low-income residents get the most out of their income tax returns kicks off Tuesday.

This will be the seventh year the cities of Lewiston and Auburn and the Annie E. Casey Foundation have sponsored the “Take the Money; You’ve Earned It” program. City, state and federal officials are scheduled to announce this year’s program at a news conference at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Lewiston City Hall.

The cities began offering the program in 2004, with a special emphasis on getting low-income residents to apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit. That’s a federal benefit for certain low- and moderate-income workers that can reduce income taxes by up to $4,716.

The Lewiston-Auburn effort is part of a push across Maine that includes eight other communities.

“One thing I do know is that since 2004, we have brought more than $10 million in federal and state income taxes back,” said Dot Perham-Whittier, Lewiston’s community relations coordinator.

The program provides free tax preparation sessions by appointment around the community for low income residents who have worked in 2010. 

Perham-Whittier said this year’s effort will also focus on financial literacy and education, with special programs being offered at Lewiston High School and the Lewiston Public Library.

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