Free income tax preparation

 

Taxpayers:

It’s once again time to file your annual income tax return. However, don’t pay to have your taxes prepared – go to a VITA site instead! The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs provide FREE  income tax preparation for individuals and families who make less than $53,000 per year. These sites operate between February and mid-April at sites all over North Carolina. Inside this brochure is a list of sites that may be near you. If you do not live near any of these sites, call 1-800-906-9887 for a site closer to you.

Most sites also offer FREE electronic filing allowing you to get your refund within a few days to a few weeks. Don’t spend hundreds of dollars in fees for filing your tax return or getting an “instant refund” through a refund anticipation loan offered by many private tax preparation sites. Visit a VITA site and take advantage of their free services.

Even if you are not required to file a tax return, you should consider doing so. You may qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit* or the Child Tax Credit, each of which could be worth thousands of dollars this year!

Learn more about local VITA sites in Mecklenburg Couty and the surrounding counties below.

* You do NOT have to have children to qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit.

VITA Sites Brochure 20152Page 2 VITA flyer double sided - Community Link-1

Page 2 VITA flyer double sided - Community Link-2

Flyers courtesy of Community Link.

 

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Save the Date for the Justice for All Luncheon

JFA 2015 Save the Date (web)

Please join us at the
2015 Justice for All Luncheon
as we share our story of providing justice for those in need in our community on
Thursday, March 12th, from 12 – 1 p.m. at The Westin Hotel with
keynote speaker The Honorable Mark Martin, Chief Justice of the N.C. Supreme Court and Chair of the NC Equal Access to Justice Commission.

Register to attend.

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IRS Free File

 

If you earned $60,000 or less last year, you can file your taxes for free using a brand-name tax software through IRS Free File. If you earned more than $60,000, you can use the Free File Fillable Forms on their website. Learn more about how to file for free at www.IRS.gov/freefile.

Here are some tips about IRS Free File:

  1. Go to IRS.gov/FreeFile.  The only way to use IRS Free File is through the IRS website. Once you choose a Free File company, you’ll go to their website to prepare and e-file your federal tax return.
  2. Find tax breaks. The question and answer format of tax software will help you find tax breaks. This could include tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. The software selects the appropriate tax forms and does the calculations for you. Free File can help with the new health care law tax provisions as well.
  3. Free for all. If you made $60,000 or less you can use brand-name software. If you earned more, you can use Free File Fillable Forms. This option uses electronic versions of IRS paper forms. It is best for people who are used to doing their own taxes.
  4. Easy online extensions.  If you can’t finish your tax return by the April 15 deadline, it’s easy to use Free File to ask for a six-month extension. An extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay. If you owe federal taxes, you need to estimate the amount and pay it with your request to avoid penalties and interest.

The IRS partners with 14 leading tax software companies, the Free File Alliance, to make this service available. Some companies offer free federal and free state returns. Choose your option on IRS.gov/freefile.

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2014 LSSP Community Impact Report

See what your support helped us do
for people in need in 2014!

2014 Impact Report Full

2014 was a great year at Legal Services of Southern Piedmont! With your support, we were able to help more clients than ever this year and respond to emergency issues affecting the most vulnerable in the Mecklenburg County area. With the recent launch of our Safe Child Immigrant Project and the expansion of our Carolinas Medical-Legal Partnership and Health Insurance Marketplace Navigator Project, we’re now able to better address the legal needs of immigrant children escaping abuse and local families struggling to access critical health care. Thank you to our supporters, partners, donors, volunteers and funders for making our work for those in need possible in 2014 and beyond.

Kenneth Schorr
LSSP Executive Director

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LS Settlement

NOTICE

TO CONSUMERS SERVED BY THE N.C. INNOVATIONS WAIVER, THEIR FAMILIES, AND LEGAL GUARDIANS:

PROPOSED SETTLEMENT OF L.S. et al. v. WOS et al.
United States District Court – Eastern District of North Carolina
Case No.: 5:11-CV-354

 

L.S. et al. v. Wos et al. is a federal lawsuit filed in July 2011. In 2012, this case was certified by the Court as a class action lawsuit on behalf of certain participants in the N.C. Innovations Waiver.

In this lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege that the Defendants have not provided sufficient notices and hearing rights regarding Innovations Waiver services as required by the federal Medicaid statute and by the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Defendants deny those allegations.

The lawyers representing the parties have reached a Settlement Agreement to settle the lawsuit. In reaching the Settlement Agreement, neither Defendant is admitting any wrongdoing, but the parties all wish to avoid further litigation while clarifying the due process rights for all N.C. Innovations Waiver participants. The Court plans to approve the Settlement Agreement unless a good reason is given not to do so. If the Settlement Agreement is approved by the Court, it will apply to all participants in the N.C. Innovations Waiver. The Settlement Agreement includes detailed description of the steps that will be taken to:

  • Ensure that Innovations Waiver participants are empowered to request the services they want to request, in the amount and for the length of time they want to request them;
  • Clarify that the Support Needs Matrix will be used as a guideline and not as a binding limit for certain N.C. Innovations services;
  • Clarify and explain the due process rights of N.C. Innovations Waiver participants;
  • Inform N.C. Innovations Waiver participants of their rights and responsibilities under the Waiver.

RIGHT TO OBJECT: Any class member has the right to object to this proposed Settlement Agreement. However, no class member has the right to exclude himself or herself from being bound by the settlement if it is approved by the court.

You may review the proposed Settlement Agreement here or by visiting the Civil Clerk’s office, US Courthouse, 413 Middle Street, New Bern, NC, 28560. The entire Settlement Agreement is also available at all of the following websites:

www.healthlaw.org/LSsettlement;

www.disabilityrightsnc.org/LSsettlement;

www.lssp.org/LSsettlement.

You may file written objections to the dismissal by mailing your reasons for objection to the Clerk of Court at the above address no later than March 11, 2015. If you wish to file evidence to support your objections, you must file the evidence in writing by that date.

You also have the right to object to the Settlement Agreement in person at a hearing that will be held at 1:30 p.m. o’clock on April 6, 2015. The hearing will take place in Courtroom, US Courthouse, 413 Middle Street, New Bern, NC, 28560.

To ask questions of plaintiffs’ attorneys about the case or the procedure for objecting to the dismissal, call toll free 1-877-235-4210 or write to John Rittelmeyer or Jennifer Bills, Attorneys at Law, Disability Rights N.C., 3724 National Dr. Suite 100, Raleigh, NC 27612.

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Celebrate #GivingTuesday with LSSP and LANC today!

Banner Graphic 2014 V1


 

large squareAfter the rush of Black Friday and Cyber Monday comes a holiday to celebrate giving back; #GivingTuesday is a special day in the holiday season to celebrate giving in your community. LSSP is proud to partner with #GivingTuesday and #GivingTuesdayCLT to provide a way for you, your family, your community or your organization to come together to give something more.

When you give to the Access to Justice Campaign today for #GivingTuesdayCLT, a portion of your gift will be matched thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Knight Foundation and a partnership with SHARE Charlotte.

Today, we ask Charlotte and beyond to consider giving justice. Give to the Access to Justice Campaign and support those in need in our community, like domestic violence survivors in search of safety, disabled children in need of medical care or families in danger of homelessness. This year, you can give them security, safety and relief by giving the gift of justice.

Get involved

– Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to help us spread the word about #GivingTuesdayCLT.

– Share your best #unselfie with us and tell us why you’re giving (see some examples from last year).

Donate today to Legal Services of Southern Piedmont and Legal Aid of North Carolina to have a portion of your gift doubled.

Make a secure donation at www.lssp.org/donate.

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Presidential Action on Immigration

 

LSSP applauds the recent executive action taken by the President; it is a much needed step to stabilize many immigrants and protect immigrant families. Ultimately, these actions will strengthen our community and benefit North Carolina as much of this vulnerable population is able to come forward and lawfully participate in our economy. Through the lives of our immigrant clients and their families, we bear witness to the broken immigration system. LSSP welcomes the President’s action for our nation and the individuals it will impact.

For low-income and indigent immigrant families, the biggest impact of the President’s action will be the extension of Deferred Action to the immigrant parents of U.S. citizen children and lawful permanent residents. The opportunity for these parents to live without the fear of removal and to legally work will be a positive step towards alleviating poverty within our community and fighting the exploitation of a whole class of workers.

LSSP also anticipates the benefit of the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that aids young adults brought to the U.S. illegally as children. This program has already eliminated the fear of deportation for many children in our community and given them the ability to work and create a more stable life. This has led to an environment where entire families are more secure and more connected in our community.

Real people’s lives will be made more secure and more hopeful.

Real families will have a fair chance to remain together.

These are tangible changes that will only strengthen and support our community.

LSSP is working with local and statewide partners to address the impact that this action will have on immigrants living in our state and community. We encourage those individuals and families who may benefit from this action to be aware of unscrupulous and fraudulent practices by individuals, often called “notarios,” claiming to offer legal assistance. The immigrant community should be aware of these risks and take necessary steps to avoid notario fraud.

The President’s action is a critical first step and will be significant in the lives of millions of immigrants living in and impacting our community. We must continue this work and continue to address broader immigration challenges.

 

Learn more about our legal services for immigrants.

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Debt Collection and Older Americans

 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office for Older Americans has released “A snapshot of debt collection complaints submitted by older consumers.”  The CFPB received approximately 25,800 complaints consumers aged 62 or older between July 2013 and September 2014, of which more than one-third concerned debt collection, surpassing complaints about all other consumer issues.

Issues elderly consumers contacted the CFPB about included:

  • Demands for payment of debts not owed;
  • Aggressive communications and abusive language from collectors;
  • Inability to identify the debt being collected;
  • Difficulty obtaining accurate and trustworthy information about alleged debts;
  • Attempts to collect on medical bills covered by insurance or while the consumer is attempting to correct billing mistakes or waiting for providers and insurers to resolve disputes;
  • Attempts to collect debts of deceased family members, even after collectors were told that the surviving consumer is not personally responsible for the debt or that there is no money left in the estate; and
  • Threats of wage and benefit garnishment or arrest and imprisonment if no payment is made.

For elderly consumers who are having troubles with debt collectors, the CFPB website features information on how to get more information about a debt the consumer doesn’t recognize; how to dispute an alleged debt; how stop harassing or offensive calls; and federal benefits and debt collection.

Learn more about our consumer protection services.

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LSSP expands veterans legal services to Cabarrus and Union Counties

_MG_8943 copyWith record numbers of veterans returning from war and many of them facing unemployment and rising poverty rates in North Carolina, Charlotte nonprofit Legal Services of Southern Piedmont (LSSP) works in the community to serve lower-income veterans struggling with issues like homelessness, health issues and financial instability. LSSP’s Veterans Legal Services Project now, with United Way support, is able to offer civil legal assistance to lower-income veterans in Cabarrus and Union Counties in addition to its existing Mecklenburg County services for issues such as Veterans Affairs disability appeals and discharge upgrades as well as other civil legal needs, including employment, tax and consumer issues.

“Those who serve make great sacrifices for our country,” Robert Davis, Veterans Legal Services Project attorney, said. “They are asked to leave their families and put their lives at risk. At Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, we respect the sacrifices veterans have made and the measure of restoration our services can provide.”

Davis heads up the project with the understanding that the stresses veterans and their families encounter often make them susceptible to adversity after they leave the military. Many of the veterans the project serves face difficulties like losing their homes, health or income in addition to being denied or delayed from receiving vital benefits. The project’s staff is dedicated to serving those who cannot afford a lawyer and helping them secure the assistance they cannot afford to be without.

Since LSSP’s Veterans Legal Services Project began in 2012 in Mecklenburg County, it has served more than 700 veterans in a variety of civil legal matters. The nonprofit’s legal support seeks to stabilize veterans by providing them with the education, advice and representation needed to maintain health, home and income. For little to no cost to the veteran, the project advocates for veterans in partnership with existing nonprofits in Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Union Counties and local Veterans Services Offices.

“We are excited about expanding our program to Cabarrus and Union Counties,” Davis said. “We believe these services fill a big need for veterans.”

Veterans or immediate family members of veterans in need of civil legal assistance can call LSSP’s Veterans Legal Services Project’s direct hotline at 704-808-4144 for more information.

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Storied Streets: Free Screening

Storied Streets: Free Screening

You can help Solve the Puzzle this November during National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Month!

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Homeless Services Network (HSN) will host a free screening of a new documentary film on homelessness during National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Month. The film, Storied Streets, shows the many faces of homelessness and tells the stories of homeless people in their own words. Click here to watch a clip of the movie: http://www.storiedstreets.com/involve.html

Date:
Sunday, November 16, at 7:30 p.m.  Doors open at 7:00 p.m. A live-streaming Q & A will follow the film at 8:30 p.m.

Light refreshments will be served.

Cost:
Free

Location:
Tate Hall, Central Piedmont Community College
1206 Elizabeth Ave., Overcash, 2nd floor

Free parking, including disability parking, is available in the Employee/Theater parking lot on 4th St. For campus map: http://www.cpcc.edu/campuses/central/images/central map.

For more information:
Ron Clark: 980-938-4210 or Ronald.Clark@cardinalinnovations.org
Lisa Marshall: 980-938-4240 or Lisa.Marshall@cardinalinnovations.org
Sharon Kugelmass: 980-314-2969 or Sharon.Kugelmass@mecklenburgcountync.gov

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