State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside) spoke Friday from his office in East Elmhurst to discuss free tax preparation services for his constituents.
Starting Wednesday, Peralta’s office and Urban Upbound, a non-profit group that provides financial services for low-income residents, will provide free tax preparation for people in the district.
“For many, [tax season] is a dreadful, annoying, and stressful time. But we’re going to make it easier for everyone. I want to make sure money goes back to my constituents,” he said.
Peralta stressed that residents should take advantage of the opportunity, especially with Urban Upbound assisting residents. The organization offered their services for 14 years. He noted that last year the organization processed more than $15 million in tax returns.
“My constituents, most in need, can now use the money that they would have used for a tax preparer, which sometimes is up to a range of $300, to pay bills, buy essential necessities, or simply save it,” he said.
Peralta offered this service as an example of benefits, with free immigration and housing attorney consultations as others, provided through his office.
“I want to make sure my constituents are defended and protected,” he said.
Bishop Taylor, co-founder and CEO of Urban Upbound, thanked Peralta and his staff for the opportunity to work together on providing help.
“The only thing I regret is that we haven’t started this soon,” he said. “But I believe that time is right, especially with all the tax changes happening next year.”
Taylor warned that residents should avoid certain accountants because of hidden fees and higher costs. This would cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.
Moreover, he noted Urban Upbound provides other services if requested, such as creating a new bank account or financial counseling.
“Our mission, and our vision, is to service people,” he said.
Residents interested in free tax services must set up an appointment and can call 718-205-3881.