Tax Help New Mexico Generates $19 Million in Refunds
The statistics were announced at a recent lunch honoring the nearly 200 volunteers who helped people prepare tax returns for free this tax season.
“This program assisted more than 19,700 people, all with annual incomes under $51,000 or age 65 and older, in preparing their tax returns for free,” said Ann Lyn Hall, executive director of CNM Connect, which oversees the program. “Plus, it gave volunteers, many of them CNM students, the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and the necessary knowledge to become certified Internal Revenue Service tax preparers. A number of Tax Help New Mexico volunteers have gone on to use these skills in their work.”
Tax Help New Mexico is one of the many programs falling under the CNM Connect umbrella. CNM Connect is a program where achievement coaches work with students on a variety of fronts to encourage them to stay in school and achieve their academic goals.
CNM developed the curriculum and provided the training for the volunteers and United Way of Central New Mexico arranged for the statewide sites for the tax return preparations. This program has been helping people with their tax returns for more than 25 years.
If volunteers were not already certified tax preparers, they needed to participate in training offered by CNM. The classes cover ethics, tax theory, tax preparation and customer service skills for which students can receive CNM credit. Qualified high school students also volunteered for the program. They earned college credit for their volunteer work. In addition to the classes, the volunteer tax preparers had to pass the IRS certification exam with an 80 percent grade or better before preparing any return at a Tax Help New Mexico site.
Starting in February and extending through April 15, Tax Help New Mexico volunteers prepared tax returns at numerous sites around the state, including Acoma Pueblo, Bernalillo, Gallup, Clovis, Roswell, Tucumcari, Silver City, Jal, Los Lunas, Laguna Pueblo, Grants, Santa Fe, Cuba, Pine Hill, Farmington, Carlsbad, Los Lunas and Zuni. There were also nine tax preparation sites in Albuquerque,
Among the nearly 200 volunteer tax preparers were 40 who put in 100 or more volunteer hours with Tax Help New Mexico.