By DIANE S. WILLIAMS
More than 1,200 members watched three virtual MELS webinars in February and March and two are now available online.
“The pandemic has increased the need for the legal services we provide our members,” said Bill Whalen, chief counsel and director of DC 37 Municipal Employees Legal Services. “We are seeing successful turnouts for the virtual webinars we’ve held to help our members with their 2020 taxes and free tax prep and matrimonial law. DC 37 continues to anticipate members’ needs in order to provide services they can really use.”
The Jan. 27 MELS Tax Tips live event watched by 280 DC 37 members and retirees featured MELS Co-Supervising Attorney Shelly Barasch, who is also an accountant. He explained what’s new for tax year 2020, filing status, standard and itemized deductions, tax credits and more. View the video or slide show here: MELS Tax Tips webinar video: http://bit.ly/3a4JtVC MELS Tax Tips webinar slides: http://bit.ly/3qXdvkT
FREE TAX PREP
The Food Bank for NYC offers free, contactless tax preparation services for low income New Yorkers to help them get the refunds and credits they are entitled to, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) that can be worth up to $8,852 for some families. Food Bank for NYC: https://www.foodbanknyc.org/taxhelp/
The IRS deadline to file income taxes is April 15, 2021.
At the MELS matrimonial webinar on Feb. 18, attorneys and family court experts explained the issues decided in a divorce; how to have MELS represent you; what documentation you need to begin divorce proceedings, and more. To view the MELS Divorce Webinar visit: https://bit.ly/3bevzki MELS Divorce Webinar Slides: http://bit.ly/3s7VReR
At the March 3 joint presentation by the Building Service 32BJ Legal Service Fund, DC 37 MELS, and CUNY Citizenship Now, immigration experts and lawyers shared free legal advice to help union members understand how to become U.S. citizens and the benefits that come with citizenship. They discussed how to file for citizenship, the requirements, test preparation for the exam, and how MELS can help.
“The climate has changed thanks to President Biden and VP Kamala Harris. There is proposed legislation in Congress and the Senate to improve the immigration and naturalization process,” said Juan Fernandez, DC 37 Citizenship Committee chair and president of Local 154. “We want to provide union members the help they need to prepare to become U.S. citizens and realize their American dreams.”