Service offers low-income, prior-year tax help for free

April 01, 2010|By Jessica Anderson | jkanderson@baltsun.com

Low-income Marylanders can receive free legal help for their tax problems from the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service.

The nonprofit group, which matches lawyers with low-income clients, is offering the help for people with tax disputes or who need to file back taxes.

The service is not for those who need help filing current taxes, according to the organization.

The volunteer lawyers can help with such issues as denial of the earned income tax credit, collections, and discrepancies in reported income and head of household status.

"It's a pretty simple procedure," said Richard Chambers, director of the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic that is operated by the lawyers service.

Those interested must answer a few questions by phone and submit tax documents to clinic workers, who connect the client with a lawyer.

There are income restrictions. The household income limit for a family of four is $55,000 and for a two-person household it is $36,000.

The program also uses students, with the help of faculty, from the University of Maryland School of Law Tax Clinic. The service helped 169 clients last year.

To apply for assistance, taxpayers should call MVLS at 410-547-6537 or 800-510-0050, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

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