CASH Campaign offers free tax preparation and help getting underused tax credits throughout Maryland

The nonprofit CASH Campaign of Maryland announced Friday where in the Baltimore region and around the state it plans to offer its free tax preparation services this tax season to anyone who earned $58,000 or less in 2021.

About 1.3 million state taxpayers qualify for free tax preparation, or almost 42% of residents who file taxes, the group said.


The nonprofit, in its 21st year helping residents with taxes, also is urging residents to take advantage of the much-promoted yet underused Earned Income Tax Credit, for workers with low to moderate income.

More than 230,000 state residents have claimed more than $102 million in such credits, with the highest numbers in Baltimore and Baltimore County, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County, according to the Maryland Comptroller’s office.


Despite the CASH Campaign’s advocacy work, about 20% of those who qualify for the earned income credit fail to apply for it, said Charles “Chuck” Rettig, commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, during a virtual press conference Friday to kick off the group’s work this tax season.

“This is not something that people take advantage of, and we want them to receive these funds,” Rettig said. “It lifts millions of people out of poverty. It changes lives.”

This year, even more filers may be eligible for the credit since Marylanders who file with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or ITIN, now may be able to claim the credit, state Comptroller Peter Franchot said during the event.

ITINs are used by those who cannot get a Social Security Number, including resident and nonresident aliens, their spouses and dependents.

With a coalition of statewide partners, the CASH Campaign since its start has served more than 235,000 households with free tax preparation and brought more than $330 million in refunds and tax credits to families, said Sara Johnson, chief operating officer and co-founder of CASH, short for Creating Assets, Savings and Hope.

Last year, in Baltimore and Baltimore County, the group prepared more than 5,000 returns with more than $10 million in federal and state refunds. This tax season, group volunteers expect to help state taxpayers save $36 million.

“Providing tax services the past two years has been a real challenge,” Johnson said. With tax credits and economic impact payments, he said, ”we’ve seen a huge demand for our services.”

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Last year, the group received more than 16,000 phone calls on its Baltimore scheduling line alone and was only able to serve half those families.


But, she said, “we know what works. The earned income tax credit and other tax credits that put money in the pockets of low- and moderate-income families have been proven time and time again to lift people out of poverty. Families ... buy food, they pay bills, they pay rent.”

Tax filers can qualify for the credit based on factors such as family size, filing status and income.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott warned residents to beware of commercial tax preparers who claim to prepare free returns, but “don’t live up to the billing,” when it applies to only a few filers and during limited-time promotions.

“The earned income tax credit is a specialized tax refund that can put thousands of dollars back into the pockets of working families, and the CASH Campaign is here to help them get that,” Scott said.

IRS-certified volunteers and CASH staff will help prepare and electronically file residents’ federal and state returns. Volunteers also can help people open low-cost or free bank accounts in which to direct deposit refunds.

Taxpayers can find information about sites and appointments at or by calling 410-234-8008.