2010-03-17 / Front Page

ERDA Pushes Free Tax Prep Aid

By Cristina Guarino

(L. to r.): Pastor Bobby Moore, ERDA President and CEO Bishop Mitchell Taylor, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Food Bank For New York City Vice President Carlos Rodriguez and City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer. 
Photo Jason D. Antos(L. to r.): Pastor Bobby Moore, ERDA President and CEO Bishop Mitchell Taylor, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Food Bank For New York City Vice President Carlos Rodriguez and City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer. Photo Jason D. AntosOn Thursday, March 11. City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer joined Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, East River Development Alliance (ERDA) President and CEO Bishop Mitchell Taylor, Food Bank for New York City Vice President Carlos Rodriguez and ERDA tax prep client Carmen Mezarina at the ERDA Tax Prep Site at 13-03 B 40th Ave., Long Island City to spread awareness of the association’s free tax preparation services and convince New Yorkers to go to such free tax prep sites to get the maximum refund possible.
“Scores of New York City residents could be missing out on thousands of dollars in tax refunds, money that low-income working people can use to pay bills and purchase food for themselves and their families,” Rodriguez said. In 2008, for example, the average New Yorker received a refund of about $2,700.
“ERDA’s tax preparation program has helped thousands of low-income workers and other low-income residents secure free tax refunds, as well as access income supports, mainstream financial services and public benefits such as Food Stamps and public health insurance,” Taylor noted.
Carmen Mezarina is a customer-turned-employee who received a $10,000 refund through ERDA’s free tax prep services, and was afterward offered a job with the agency. She was extremely pleased with the results; not only did she receive a good deal of money, she also drastically changed her spending habits, thanks to their financial advice and “Financial Freedom” workshop. 
“I’m still not making the ‘big bucks’, but I feel like I am,” she said. “They exceeded my expectations.”
ERDA will hold an open house on March 22 at the same site.

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