LEWISTON — Volunteers will add a Saturday seminar with tips for living on a tight budget to their low-income tax-preparation effort this year.

The city of Lewiston and the CASH Coalition will present seminars from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Jan. 26 on home weatherization, nutrition, home finance, using coupons and finding a better job at the Lewiston Public Library. It’s part of the annual “Take the Money, You’ve Earned It” program.

Volunteers will prepare state and federal income-tax returns and fill out tax-credit applications for qualified taxpayers Jan. 24 through March 31. Lewiston City Administrator Ed Barrett said the effort brought $2.1 million in tax refunds to Lewiston-Auburn in 2012. That’s money that was spent locally and helped boost the Twin Cities economy.

“Stop and think about how we would be celebrating today if we were entertaining a new employer coming to the community with a $2 million payroll,” Barrett said. “That’s exactly what we are doing by urging people to take advantage of this program.”

The program encourages residents to take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit, a federal benefit for low- and moderate-income workers designed to reduce income taxes. To qualify for the credit, residents cannot make more than $50,270 for a family with three children, married and filing jointly. They can qualify for a credit of up to $5,891.

Auburn resident Jacklyn Holt, a single mother, said she’s used the program since 2004. She knew the tax credits were available, but she didn’t know how to get them until she was advised by one of the program’s volunteers.

“She told me what the refund was going to be,” Holt said. “As a single mother with day care bills of more than $10,000, as well as formula and diapers, when she told me about that refund, I started to cry.”

The tax preparation is free of charge but by appointment only. Lewiston-Auburn residents should call 513-3160 beginning Jan. 17 to schedule an appointment.

It is the 10th year the cities of Lewiston and Auburn and the Annie E. Casey Foundation have sponsored the program. It’s one of nine similar programs throughout Maine.

Volunteers will prepare tax returns at Lewiston’s Memorial Armory at the corner of Vale and Center streets from 3 to 6 p.m. on Mondays, 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays, 12:30 to 4 p.m. on Fridays and from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

They will do returns from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays at Auburn Hall.

A special push is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Lewiston Armory.

Residents should bring tax forms (W-2s, 1099s, 1098s, Form 8332s, etc.), Social Security numbers for filers and co-filers, valid picture IDs and account information for direct deposit. They should also bring the name and address of their child-care providers and the providers’ tax identification number if they are applying for child/dependent care.

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