D.C. residents get free tax prep help at annual Tax and Financial Services Fair

With April 15th fast approaching, tax time usually means headache time.

But for some DC residents still needing to file their tax returns today, that burden was removed early, efficiently and free of charge.

The annual “Tax and Financial Services” Fair was held today at the DC convention center, featuring IRS-certified tax preparers. DC residents making below $57,000 could get their taxes prepared and filed for free.

“It cost money to go to a tax service and have it done so to have it done for free saves about a hundred or more dollars,” DC resident Charles Minkowitz said today at the fair, “and it’s accurately done.”

The fair is sponsored yearly by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and brings out volunteers with legal and financial training to help answer questions, provide guidance and file resident’s taxes.

“We’ll save our folks a lot of money that I think deserves to be saved,” Congresswoman Norton said today at the fair.

Experts at the fair today said tax preparation becomes more difficult, frustrating and many times much more costly when people don’t have access to good financial advice.

“Some people are not aware of what deductions they can take, what credits they might be eligible for so we can help them with those kind of things,” tax preparer Ava Liggens said today.

Angela Bradford has qualified for the free advice and filing for the past three years. She said not only does it save her money but she has learned a lot.

“They prepare my taxes for free and they help me out – they help me out a lot,” Bradford said today while waiting in line to get her taxes completed, “they gave me knowledge about my taxes that I didn’t know. A lot of things I didn’t really know.”

Melvin Onyr, also a DC resident taking advantage of the free services today, agreed.

“It’s nice to have experts, they can do it fast and quick, you don’t have to worry about taking it nowhere else,” Onyr said.

The fair was for today only. But experts say there are many neighborhood tax preparation community sites in the DC-area which are also available to residents free of charge between now and tax day. Congresswoman Norton says to reach out to her Congressional office for more information.