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Maryland CASH (Creating Assets, Savings and Hope) Campaign 

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Some Tax Filers Should Expect Refund Delays

 

In 2015 Congress passed the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act  which among other tax law changes provides that taxpayers that file and claim the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and/or the federal Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) will not receive their federal refunds until after February 15 this upcoming tax season.

 

Here are important messages these taxpayers need to know:

1) All taxpayers who claim the federal EITC and/or ACTC will have all their federal tax credits and refunds delayed until after February 15. The IRS cautions taxpayers that these refunds likely will not start arriving in bank accounts or on debit cards until the week of Feb. 27.

2) Regardless, filers should NOT wait to file. Schedule tax preparation appointment with Baltimore and Maryland CASH starting January 3, 2017 at NO COST. Click here for free tax locations.

3) Don’t believe the hype – NO ONE can get their full federal refund to them faster than the IRS allows and FREE nonprofit tax preparation services provided by Baltimore and Maryland CASH can help!

4) Yes, it’s hard to wait on a federal refund but huge interest & big fees from RACs & RALs can take a big bite out of people’s hard earned money. Why not put all that money into your pocket instead?

5) IT’S YOUR MONEY – KEEP IT! Don’t waste it on paid preparers who will take a large percentage of your federal refund, whether there’s a delay or not.

6) The delayed payments ONLY affect Federal tax returns, NOT Maryland. State of Maryland refund checks including those with state EITC will be delivered on time.

7) Tax preparation by Baltimore and Maryland CASH’s IRS-certified volunteers is high quality, safe and FREE to anyone who earned under $54,000 in 2016!!!

 

MD Ranks #1 in Policies, 22nd in Outcomes

 For a third year, Maryland ranks #1 among all states for its adoption of policies aimed at increasing the financial stability of residents. This ranking marks a great achievement that should be celebrated. This year we look to continue this commitment by working to expand Maryland’s Earned Income Tax Credit. We hope to expand Maryland’s EITC in 3 ways:

  1. By lowering the age requirement to 18,
  2. Increasing the income requirement to $23,000 and
  3. Increase the State EITC to 100% of the Federal EITC for single filers and 28% for filers with dependents.
We ask for your support as we do so! To learn more, see our sign-on form.
Over the last few years, Maryland succeeded in passing laws to:
  • Eliminate asset limits for public benefit programs, which removes barriers for low-income residents to save money.
  • Protect residents from high cost, short-term loans like payday and refund anticipation loans.
  • Maintain and increase enforcement of tax preparer regulations.
  • Allow for the offering of prize-linked savings accounts for both banks and credit unions.

Despite some good news, Maryland ranks poorly on several outcome measures critical to family financial security, earning an overall rank of 22 out of 50 states. Almost 35% of all Marylanders do not have sufficient savings readily available to weather a financial storm. It is almost 2.3 times higher for households of color. We can do better. Maryland ranks:

  • 13th in households without access to a bank account (4.8%)
  • 18th in income inequality (The richest 20% of households in Maryland make 4.5x more then the poorest 20%)
  • 32nd in on-time payers (78.8% of payers are current on all credit obligations)
  • 36th in bankruptcy rate (3.3 per 1,000 people)
  • 42nd in foreclosures (2.8%)

Check out the entire scorecard here and read the MD CASH Press Release.

We believe it takes a combination of innovative programs, safe products and effective policies to ensure ALL Marylanders achieve financial security. We need your story, your voice, or your donation to ensure these goals.

This year’s call to action: Let your legislators know, you support EITC expansion for childless workers and sign on here.
Visit our Scorecard website to learn more and sign up for updates to keep in touch!
 

MD CASH hosts delegation from Belarus

Maryland CASH was pleased to host 10 individuals from Belarus as part of a three week financial education tour coordinated by the World Trade Center Institute. The delegation is meeting with various providers and stakeholders to learn best practices about financial education to take back to Belarus. The delegation, which also included two Russian interpreters, included representatives from banking, insurance, government, higher education, and philanthropy.

The group met for 2.5 hours to discuss free tax preparation, the Maryland CASH Academy, and MyBudgetCoach. The group focused on Maryland CASH’s key philosophy – focus on the emotional side of financial decision-making for the best results. They had fun playing Money Habitudes!

Thanks to The Daily Record for covering the event! Check out the article here!

A great group!

A great group!

Gift bag full of treats from Belarus!
Gift bag full of treats from Belarus!

 

 

Director Robin McKinney named to The Daily Record 2015 “Very Important Professionals Successful by 40” Awards

Robin McKinney, Director, Maryland CASH (Creating Assets, Savings, and Hope) Campaign has been named to The Daily Record 2015 VIP List — “Very Important Professionals Successful by 40” awards.  TheVIP List recognizes professionals who have been successful in Maryland based on their accomplishments and commitment to inspiring change in their community.

McKinney is the co-founder and director of Maryland CASH (Creating Assets, Savings, and Hope) Campaign.  “Starting the Maryland CASH Campaign is my proudest accomplishment,” says McKinney.  “We work to ensure that all low income families have access to free, high-quality tax preparation, fact-based financial education, and policies that help them to build savings. The small effort has grown to annually providing over 18,000 free tax returns, free financial education to 6,000 individuals, and funding for organizations in 19 counties.”

READ MORE

 

Cummings and Warren to Hold “Middle Class Prosperity Project”

Maryland CASH Director, Robin McKinney, is pleased to join Congressman Elijah Cummings and Senator Elizabeth Warren on May 11, 2015 for a “Middle Class Prosperity Project” Forum on Predatory Financial Practices and Economic Injustice. The event is open to the public and there is no registration required. Media Advisory

Full video and comments now available, including Robin McKinney, Director of Maryland CASH. Check out the photos from the event!

Monday, May 11, 2015 1 pm — 2:30 pm

University of Maryland

Carey School of Law

Ceremonial Courtroom

500 W. Baltimore Street

Baltimore, MD 21201

 

Chance to Enroll If Owed the 2014 Penalty for Being Uninsured

Open enrollment for 2015 ended on February 15th.  However, for those that paid a penalty on their 2014 tax return for not having health coverage in 2014, the Maryland Health Connection has created a special enrollment period.  Through April 30th eligible participants will be able to enroll in a qualified health plan. To qualify the applicant must attest they will owe the penalty for being uninsured in 2014 and that they became aware of the penalty after 2015 open enrollment ended Feb. 15th.  This will allow them to get coverage for the remainder of the 2015 and avoid having to pay the penalty for the entire year. For 2015, the penalty increases to 2 percent of gross household income over the federal income tax filing threshold, or $325 per individual – whichever is greater.  The penalty may still apply for those months without insurance coverage or an exemption. Learn more at the Maryland Health Connection.