Tax Season Update
Tax season 2018 is at its halfway point. With only weeks left to file returns, the pace of the season has picked up. Restoration’s Economic Solutions Centers (ESC), in partnership with the Food Bank of New York and New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, has seen over 900 clients as of March 1st. So far, the preparers have retuned over 2 million dollars to its clients.
Idesta Severin, Lead Tax Coordinator at the Economic Solutions Center Central location (1368 Fulton Street), says this tax season has been “fast paced, but organized”. “Our wait time has decreased by 1 1/2 hours. Because wait times have gone down significantly, it has had a ripple effect on the whole process. As a result we have increased appointment slots from 8 slots per hour to 12 on the weekends”.
Many clients say that creating savings with their return, is one of the most important pieces of advice volunteers and preparers are suggesting. Banks with branches in the community, like TD Bank and Chase, are setting up tables in ESC to offer incentives on site to entice clients to open accounts. “There are many people in the community who are do not have bank accounts and it makes leveraging the wealth of the community difficult.” says Severin.
No free tax preparation site could function without its volunteer staff. Omar, a volunteer for self-preparation, says he was surprised at how many of his clients did not have an email address and that he had to create accounts for them.
Chloe, a tax volunteer, says that entertaining clients with her humor has gotten her through an otherwise humorless tax environment. She was surprised to learn that gambling debts are tax deductible from helping a client.
Ty says he keeps a professional demeanor with his clients, but uses his conversation skills to relax them. He is “very meticulous” as he goes through everything twice to make sure he does not mess up a return.
The last day of tax preparation services at the Economic Solutions Center will be Tuesday, April 17th. Restoration is now preparing previous year’s returns and amendments. To set up an appointment visit restorationplaza.org/tax-prep-2018 or call 929.432.3314.