Photo Credit: COJO

Attempting to complete a tax return – a tense and tedious experience under the best of circumstances – can, if done incorrectly, lead to unpleasant legal and financial consequences. Tax law is extremely complicated, and every year the Internal Revenue Service announces several important changes to the tax code. Those changes can affect everything from your tax bracket and inflation-adjusted standard tax deductions to your qualifications and eligibility for Child Tax and Earned Income Tax Credits.

With that in mind, COJO Flatbush is once again offering FREE TAX PREPARATION for eligible taxpayers through the NYC DCWP IRS-certified Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs.


That’s right – tax preparation absolutely free of charge for families that earned up to $85,000 and individuals who earned up to $59,000 in household income in 2023. It’s quick and convenient – and, most important, accurate, with tax-return forms carefully worked on by certified tax preparers whose goal is maximizing earned-income tax credits and refunds.

“Every VITA/TCE volunteer who prepares returns must pass tax-law training that meets or exceeds IRS standards,” says COJO Flatbush Tax Prep Coordinator Felix Akazi. “The training features a strong emphasis on privacy and confidentiality regarding all taxpayer information. And – in addition to requiring that volunteers certify their knowledge of tax law – the IRS mandates that every return prepared at a VITA/TCE site must pass a quality-review check prior to filing.”

The key to the process, Akazi adds, “is ensuring that our clients know exactly what kind of income documentation they need to submit and answering questions and addressing concerns about every aspect of their tax return throughout the preparation process.”

COJO Flatbush Social Services Director Shulamis Shapiro says the savings to taxpayers provided by the Tax Prep program can’t be stressed enough. “Even a routine tax return will cost a person a couple hundred dollars,” she noted. “Multiply that by the number of tax-prep clients we service and it comes to hundreds of thousands of dollars saved by members of the community, which of course makes a tremendous difference to household budgets.”

For more information about COJO’s free Tax Prep program and to schedule an appointment, call Felix Akazi at 718-377-2900, ext. 331.

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Jason Maoz served as Senior Editor of The Jewish Press from 2001-2018. Presently he is Communications Coordinator at COJO Flatbush.