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CHGM’s FREE TAX CLINIC begins its 40th Consecutive Year

By: Administrator
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Capitol Hill Group Ministry (CHGM), a DC non-profit committed to addressing homelessness and assisting families in crisis with housing and other needs, will once again  be offering the Free Tax Clinic for individuals and households with annual incomes of $57,000 or less.

For the past 40 years, unpaid volunteers from the Capitol Hill neighborhood have dedicated themselves to helping District residents prepare their Federal and DC income tax returns.  Meeting weekly at Lincoln Park United Methodist Church, the Tax Clinic’s volunteers expect to help more than 50 Capitol Hill community members file before the April 15th deadline.

Originally started by CHGM’s 2nd Executive Director, Ed Goode, the Free Tax Clinic held its first home at the Friendship House’s Clothing Center on 8th St.; now home to Senart’s Oyster Bar & Chop House. The Tax Clinic has always prided itself on being a no-budget and no-overhead service, with a stack of tax forms and a pocket full of stamps. In those early years, clients would meet with unpaid volunteers, primarily from CHGM’s clergy partners, across tables with sweaters and between coat racks with jackets pushed to either side.

In each of the years that followed the Tax Clinic has often found its home in the fellowship halls, basements, and parlors of various congregations in our community. At its peak, more than 150 individuals and families were assisted in a single tax season. In recent years, the majority of the clients served have been returning clients, and often neighbors from the senior citizen community.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been 40 years but there is always a need for this service,” said volunteer Rick Halberstein. “What i have enjoyed most has been helping the volunteers learn how to help other people.”

Even today, when many people choose to file online or take advantage of “instant rebates”, you can still find unpaid volunteers like Rick Halberstein, Mike Ambrose, and Martha Huizenga filling out paper 1040ez forms, or carefully reviewing W-2s behind the glow of their laptops. You can find volunteers offering a much needed service, one client at a time.

This year’s tax clinic is being held each Thursday night at Lincoln Park United Methodist Church from 6:30pm- 8:30pm.

Please call Rick Halberstein at 202-546-1111 or Mike Ambrose at 202-544-5605. Please leave a detailed message if there is no answer and your call will be returned.

Please remember to bring your W-2 forms and any other tax-related documents for your 2012 taxes.

We look forward to seeing you again this year.