The Bethpage Federal Credit Union Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program...

The Bethpage Federal Credit Union Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program will provide trained volunteers to guide qualifying Long Islanders through the tax-filing process. Credit: Bethpage Federal Credit Union

For the 21st consecutive year, the Bethpage Federal Credit Union Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program will provide trained volunteers to help Long Islanders prepare and e-file  income tax returns — even if  they're not  members of the credit union.

Volunteers also will help eligible working families apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit, an anti-poverty program that could save taxpayers thousands of dollars, the credit union announced.

“Tax returns and tax credits provide individuals and families with money back that can make a large impact on their quality of life," said Ever  Martinez, Bethpage FCU community engagement relationship manager. “We encourage those who are eligible to register.”

Options for those seeking tax assistance include in-person appointments with state Department of Taxation  and Finance employees, available at select libraries; virtual and in-person assistance with Bethpage volunteers; and remote assistance using free software from the credit union. Appointments are required.

The in-person facilitated self-assistance program involving state taxation employees will conduct appointments Tuesday and March 12 at Bellmore Memorial Library; March 5   at Central Islip Public Library; March 7, March 21 and April 4 at Middle Country Library in Centereach;   Wednesday, and March 13 and April 10 at South Country Library in Bellport; and March 26 at West Babylon Public Library. All appointments are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — and open only to library patrons and town residents.

To register,  call Bethpage at 516-349-4288 or send email to community@bethpagefcu.com. Spanish speakers should inquire about help in that language, the credit union said.  

Virtual appointments with credit union volunteers should be  scheduled online at lovebethpage.com/vita. Appointments are available Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through April 11, the credit union said.

For in-person meetings with Bethpage's trained volunteers, residents can also call Bethpage Community Development at  516-349-4288 or  email community@bethpagefcu.com. Locations include every Wednesday at Touro Law Center in Central Islip  from 4 to 8 p.m. through April 10 and every other Friday at the Hempstead Public Schools Parent Resource Center  from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through April 12.

To use the software program, Bethpage said  participants must first view a webinar presented by the credit union and the state Department of Taxation and Finance. To register, email  Bethpage’s Community Development team at community@bethpagefcu.com

The credit union said qualified taxpayers planning to seek assistance from the Bethpage program must  present photo identification; Social Security cards for yourself, spouse and dependents; current year’s tax package (if you have one); wage and earning statements from all employers, including a W-2; interest and dividend statements and all 1099 forms; a copy of last year’s federal and state returns; and bank account and routing numbers for those seeking direct deposit. Day care and provider tax ID also are necessary in select cases.

In 2023, Bethpage completed 787 returns, helping secure more than $793,734 in IRS refunds, the credit union said.

The IRS offers free volunteer assistance through other local organizations as well. For locations, go to IRS.gov/vita  or call 800-906-9887. The IRS website offers help in eight languages.

In addition, free help is also available from AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers. Go to aarp.org/money/taxes/aarp_taxaide  or call 888-227-7669.

Since the program began in 2004, Bethpage has helped more than 25,000 Long Islanders file — resulting in more than $29 million in refunds, the credit union said.

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