With tax day (this year it is April 17) right around the corner, many of us are frantically gathering W-2 forms and other income records, figuring deductible expenses and sitting down with our calculator, online tax software or accountant.
Now imagine having to prepare your taxes as a new American, with only basic English-language skills and little or no knowledge of our tax system.
JF&CS receives funding from an Internal Revenue Service program to provide Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs). Our immigration legal services staff present LITCs, helping qualifying individuals understand their taxpayer responsibilities and rights.
While our clinics do not include actual tax preparation, workshop attendees may be referred to free tax preparation resources through the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, the United Way of Allegheny County’s “Money in Your Pocket” campaign and the University of Pittsburgh.
And new this year, we’ve partnered with Just Harvest (VITA Site) and the Latino Family Center to assist with the scheduling of appointments for tax preparation for the Hispanic population and translators to help the preparers.
JF&CS is one of only a handful of organizations in the state to coordinate LITCs. Offering these workshops is a natural fit for our agency, where we already provide a myriad of resources for legal immigrants.
Our immigration legal services staff includes immigration attorneys, Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) Accredited Representatives and almost 20 volunteer attorneys. Immigration-related legal services and naturalization assistance are offered for free or a nominal fee to individuals with limited financial resources.
We partner with organizations such as the Allegheny Bar Association, the Pro-Bono Immigration Law Project and University of Pittsburgh Immigration Law Clinic to meet the needs of low-income immigrants in need of legal services. In addition, JF&CS founded a separate 501(c)(3) organization, Legal Services for Immigrants & Internationals (LSII), and some of our services are supported through this entity.
Since our founding, JF&CS has been an acknowledged leader in helping immigrants and refugees resettle and successfully build new lives in our community. We’re proud to continue in this tradition serving America’s newest taxpayers.
Please contact JF&CS’s Jamie Englert, Accredited Representative, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412.422.7200 to learn more about our LITC workshops. And, go online to read more about JF&CS services for immigrants and refugees.