Mid-Coast program provides tax help to those in need

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BATH — With income-tax season looming, a Mid-Coast program is geared toward helping hundreds of low- and moderate-income residents.

Midcoast CA$H offers help from a team of volunteer tax preparers, trained and certified by the IRS. They help filers identity benefits, complete their taxes, review the documents for accuracy and file them for free.

Many people overlook the funds because they do not know about them, the program leader, Maria Hinteregger, said in a Nov. 27 press release. Many also find the idea of filing taxes intimidating, and cannot afford to have their taxes prepared professionally.

The program – which last year helped generate more than $625,000 in saved fees and refunds – needs 10 volunteer preparers, and five to serve as greeters at service sites around the Mid-Coast. Sites and dates of service are still being determined,  and will be posted at cashmaine.org.

Interested volunteers and potential clients should contact Ali Al-Dhaman of Goodwill of Northern New England at 699-0752, or email midcoastcash@goodwillnne.org. Training sessions take place at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance in Bath, Brunswick and Wiscasset.

The service is available for individuals and families that earn less than $54,000 and cannot afford a tax preparation service. In tax year 2016, 310 Mid-Coast residents with an average income of around $26,000 were served, despite the income limit being more than twice that amount.

CA$H, now in its 11th year, is a program administered by United Way of Mid Coast Maine, for which Hinteregger serves as associate director of community impact. The initiative – funded by the IRS and local organizations like the Davenport Trust and Bath Savings – works in tandem with Goodwill of Northern New England and New Ventures Maine, bolstered by added financial support from area foundations and banks.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Gene Wiemers, left, is one of a team of volunteers helping low- and moderate-income Mid-Coast residents maximize their tax benefits.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.