Ocean Bay Houses Seek Vols At Tax Assistance Site

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By Miriam Rosenberg
Contributing Editor

On January 7 and January 14, Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation (OBCDC) will host a two-day training seminar for volunteers who wish to work as tax-preparers for the new Far Rockaway Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site.

“Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation has been designated, by the Department of Justice – in partnership with the Internal Revenue Service – as one of 50 new VITA sites for 2006,” said Pat Simon, the executive director of OBCDC.

The training will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the OBCDC office.

“Hopefully we will get residents from Far Rockaway to become certified as tax-preparers. We also want to get people from other ventures such as AARP, SCORE and college students who are already certified,” continued Simon.

Those who want to volunteer but cannot attend the mandatory two-day session, can go the IRS website http://www.irs.gov/ app/vita/index.jsp for the ‘link & learn’ online training and certification.

“[VITA] centers provide free tax assistance for the elderly, low-income families and non-English speaking individuals as well as persons with disabilities,” said Pammie Fulton of OBCDC at December’s Weed and Seed meeting.

Simon told The Wave that OBCDC received a $10,000 grant that included six computers to do tax preparation during tax season. The rest of the year, the computers will be used for community programs.

Funding for the new VITA center was made possible because OBCDC is within the designated area for the Far Rockaway Weed and Seed site. The Justice Department’s Community Capacity Development Office, which oversees the federal Weed and Seed program, provided the grant. The Internal Revenue Service is providing support such as software and the training of volunteers.

OBCDC is also looking for volunteers to help prescreen individuals who may be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

“The Citizens for New York City Foundation awarded OBCDC a grant to do outreach to prescreen residents who may qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit,” Simon said.

“Individuals may be eligible for a tax refund of up to $5,000 through the Earned Income Tax Credit,” Fulton explained last month. “The EITC is a tax credit for individuals and families who work and do not earn high incomes. Incomes should not exceed $40,000.”

For time, location and possible additional training dates for VITA sessions, information about becoming an EITC volunteer or EITC prescreening call Pammie Fulton at (781) 945-8640 or email obcdc2@nyc.rr. com. OBCDC is located at 443 Beach 54 Street on the ground floor.

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