Jan 22, 2010

College Goal Sunday Pairs FREE Tax Preparation Assistance with FAFSA Completion

Maryland is one of only two states in the nation pairing tax preparation services with FAFSA completion through College Goal Sunday. Together with Georgia, Maryland was selected to pilot an innovative program to provide low income families with tax preparation assistance to support FAFSA completion on behalf of college-bound family members.

“This year, College Goal Sunday is partnering with Y USA to ensure that we reach the target populations of low income, first generation, and adult learners,” explained Sharon Hasson, Goucher College Director of Financial Aid. “Two locations will offer Spanish interpretation and two will offer free tax prep with electronic filing provided by the Baltimore CASH Campaign.”

College Goal Sunday is an annual series of events designed to give families the opportunity to speak directly with financial aid professionals and get free help completing forms required by colleges, universities, and private career schools to qualify for scholarships, grants, and loans. In Maryland, seven events are scheduled over six weeks beginning on January 24th at the Calvert Library in Prince Frederick and ending on February 21st at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex.

Tax preparation assistance will be available at Goucher College on January 31st, from 12 to 4 p.m. and at Loyola University on February 7th from 1 to 4 p.m. Spanish translation services will also be available at Goucher as well as at Montgomery College, on February 14th.

To qualify for the free tax service, you must either be a single tax filer making $25,000 or less in 2009 or in a family of 2 or more making $49,000 or less in 2009. You will need to bring tax documents including W-2’s, last year’s return, and all 1099 forms. No corporate or business returns will be done, and tax services will be provided only to those individuals or families completing the FAFSA.

Although event registration is not required, it is strongly recommended. Also, students and least one parent should register in advance for PIN numbers by logging on to http://www.pin.ed.gov/. Everyone needs to bring Social Security numbers, driver’s license (if available), income and tax records, bank and investment statements, and residency documents for noncitizens.

A nonprofit program, College Goal Sunday is funded through grants issued by USA Funds and the Lumina Foundation for Education. More information as well as a complete listing of events scheduled throughout the country may be found on the College Goal Sunday website.

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