“How to Find a Trustworthy Tax Preparer” Article Published by The Baltimore Times

The Baltimore Times published a new story written by Phinesse Demps outlining key signs to avoid a fraudulent tax preparer. MVLS’ Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic Director, John Hardt is quoted below.

Here are some key signs that suggest a tax preparer is one you should avoid:

“They offer refund anticipation loans. Refund anticipation loans are notoriously bad deals that charge very high fees. You can avoid the
fees and need for the anticipation loan by filing your taxes early.” said John Hardt.

Read the full piece in The Baltimore Times.

“Nonprofit Legal Services Help Homeowners Struggling With Property Taxes Keep Their Homes” – By Kristen Griffith

Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service’s tax sale work was featured in The Chronicle of Philanthropy in an article published by Kristen Griffith on February 23, 2022. 

Here is a brief excerpt: “Elizabeth Vermillera, a retired pharmaceutical technician, spends her days handing out donated clothes and food to people in Baltimore. Since 1997, she has lived in the three-level rowhouse on East Monument Street…

‘I almost lost my house for $1,000,’ Vermillera shared.”

Read the full article here: www.philanthropy.com/article/nonprofit-legal-services-help-homeowners-struggling-with-property-taxes-keep-their-homes

Continue reading ““Nonprofit Legal Services Help Homeowners Struggling With Property Taxes Keep Their Homes” – By Kristen Griffith”

MVLS’ LITC Program Helps 90 Year-Old “Claudette”

Last year, MVLS assisted 115 clients through our Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) program. Claudette* recently become a client of MVLS and has a very powerful story about how a volunteer attorney turned her life around.

Claudette is 90 years old and lives alone in Catonsville, in an apartment complex for the elderly. Until her recent foot surgery, she was independent and drove herself wherever she needed to go. Like many elderly people, she had a fixed income and between pensions and social security, she made about $16,000 annually.

Like many individuals on social security, she thought that she didn’t have to pay taxes. Unfortunately, she made too much money – and she did owe taxes.   The filing threshold for 2015 for her age group was $11,850.

Her outstanding tax debt to the IRS was $500.  She didn’t have any money to pay the whole debt, and no money for an installment plan. The IRS put a levy on her social security, and took 15% of her social security. When she found out this information she immediately called MVLS for help.

A volunteer attorney was able to take the case and get Claudette back into compliance with her tax filing with the help of Baltimore CASH, and a “Currently Not Collectible” status was obtained for her accounts, allowing the levy to be lifted.  Claudette still has outstanding tax debt associated with not paying her taxes, but the levy has been lifted, allowing her to get her full amount of social security benefits.

The LITC program is available to help low-income individuals with tax controversy issues like Claudette’s. While it can be scary having the IRS contact you with an issue, MVLS is here to help. We are not done helping Claudette, and her volunteer attorney is currently looking at other collection alternatives for her debt.

The LITC program is currently accepting new tax controversy cases and volunteer applications. Please reach out to LITC Managing Attorney Janice Shih for more information.

*Name has been changed