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Errors Cause Millions Of Tax Dollars To Go Unclaimed

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — April 15th–Tax Day–is looming. But some won’t get a hefty refund. That’s because they’re getting ripped off instead.

Gigi Barnett reports experts say millions go unclaimed in Baltimore every year.

Ten years ago, Dorothy Johnson realized she was paying too much money for tax preparations. Some agencies wanted as much as 20 percent of her refund.

“My income isn’t that much and to take 10 or 20 percent of what I’m getting back from my taxes,” she said.

That’s when she found the Baltimore CASH Campaign. It’s a nonprofit that prepped her taxes for free.

“I have been coming for some years now and I have not had any problems of any kind. No comebacks or anything. I’m very pleased,” she said.

The CASH Campaign says some low-income earners are vulnerable to the scams and schemes that promise big refunds, but don’t show clients the real math on the payments.

“We know a lot of people out there are getting their taxes done and getting ripped off. They’re paying too much money,” said Baltimore CASH Campaign Director Sara Johnson.

Johnson says some try to avoid those hefty payments and go to agencies with less qualified preparers, who aren’t as skilled in the IRS’ ever-changing tax code.

As a result, many income tax filers are missing out on money-saving deductions.

“Actually, about 21 percent of people in Baltimore City are not claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit. That’s $50 million of unclaimed money going in Baltimore City alone,” Johnson said.

The CASH Campaign has 12 locations around the area, including one at Mondawmin Mall. The agency says anyone who made $52,000 or less last year can get their taxes prepared for free.

Last year, the CASH Campaign filed more than 16,000 state and federal taxes combined.

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