CASH Campaign Kicks Off at Community Engagement Center
Albert Einstein once said, “The hardest thing in the world to understand is income tax.” While that may have been the case in Einstein’s day, filing and understanding income tax need not be rocket science for Maryland residents today, thanks to the Maryland CASH campaign. CASH stands for “Creating Assets, Savings, and Hope”. This acronym summarizes the non-profit organization’s essential services, which consists in providing free tax preparation services to low- to middle-income Marylanders.
On January 27, the CASH Campaign of Maryland celebrated its annual launch event at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Community Engagement Center (CEC). The UMB CEC is just one of many locations across the state where Maryland taxpayers who made $60,000 or less in 2022 can get federal and state tax filing help. With an appointment, eligible taxpayers can speak with an IRS-trained volunteer to help them file on time, maximize their tax refund, and receive their Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
“Here in Maryland, we are fortunate to have the most generous EITC in the country,” said Robin McKinney, CEO and co-founder of CASH Campaign of Maryland. “We work to give nearly half a million taxpayers, including more than 50,000 in Baltimore, a chance for financial freedom and a way out of poverty.”
It was only fitting that Maryland’s CASH campaign kickoff took place on January 27th, which is also National Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day. It was also the first time the event had been held in person since the COVID-19 pandemic. Many elected officials came out to help celebrate, including newly elected Maryland Comptroller Brooke E. Lierman.
“This is an important day to ensure people understand this process so they can seize and take control of their economic future,” Lierman said. “We’re at the start of tax season and we want you to know that during this time, you can reach out to any of us for help. The CASH campaign is about creating savings, hope and wealth. We support this mission and want to help too.”
Over the past 22 years, Maryland’s CASH campaign has prepared and submitted more than 248,900 Tax returns free, putting nearly $361 million in refunds and tax credits in the pockets of Baltimore families and individuals. These efforts have saved taxpayers an estimated $39 million in unnecessary filing fees by submitting to the CASH campaign for free. This tax season, Maryland’s CASH campaign hopes to put more than $30 million back into the pockets of hard-working Marylanders.
Aliya Kingwood, a young Baltimore resident, used the services of the CASH campaign last tax season and plans to use them again. Kingwood says she was surprised to see how much money she was able to claim on her tax returns last year and was able to use those funds to invest in her future.
“I was able to pay for a course to invest in my career and now I work for an intellectual property law firm,” she said. “I am happy that I can take this opportunity to improve. I won’t actually be able to qualify next year, but that’s a good thing because I’m moving up.”
Kingwood said she encourages anyone who qualifies for CASH campaign tax preparation services to take advantage of this opportunity. Many taxpayers have the potential to recoup thousands of dollars on their tax refunds, which is why this launch event was so important in promoting Maryland’s CASH campaign.
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott summed up this message. “As our ‘forever’ Congressman Elijah Cummings would say, ‘Let’s go out and tell Lottie, Dottie and everyone.’ By spreading the word, we’re helping our residents who work extremely hard for their money to keep the money they make because they deserve it.”
Maryland’s CASH campaign is available by appointment to eligible Marylanders through April 18th. Appointments are available Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and can be booked on the UMB CEC CASH campaign website or by calling 410-541-5086.