CASH Maine Turns 20

In the Fall of 2002, a collaboration in Maine called Creating Assets, Savings and Hope—CASH—was established with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Now in its 20th year, CA$H Maine is comprised of 50 non- and for-profit partners working together to help empower Maine individuals and families to achieve long-term financial stability.

There are a number of ways that partner organizations work to achieve that goal:

  • CA$H Maine operates as one of over 12,000 IRS-funded Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or VITA, programs in the U.S. that provide cost-free services to help clients get their maximum refund and claim all of the credits they are due
  • CA$H Maine also provides information about programs that can help people to build their assets, such as matched savings accounts
  • CA$H Maine also increases awareness of local community resources and services that can help people meet their financial needs and reach their financial goals

Over its 20-year history, CA$H Maine has:

  • filed more than 60,000 federal and state tax returns
  • helped clients claim over $90 million worth of federal tax refunds including over $30 million in Earned Income Tax Credits
  • saved tax filers nearly $11 million in tax preparation fees

Western Maine and York County were the first two coalitions to form in 2002 and 2003. Over the following decade, additional coalitions were formed, including Lewiston/Auburn, Greater Portland, Eastern Maine, Midcoast Maine, Central Maine, Oxford County, Wabanaki, Aroostook, and Capital area. There are currently nine coalitions serving people across the state of Maine.

During the 2022 tax season, CA$H Maine prepared 4,522 tax returns for low-income clients who were able to claim $5.51 million in federal refunds, including $1.55 million in EITC refunds, and who saved $795,872 in tax preparation costs.

In April, CA$H Maine partners began assisting qualified Maine residents to file their Maine tax returns in order to receive $850 Inflation Relief Payments. This work is ongoing through the deadline of October 31, 2022.

Michele Clark, Family Coach for Aroostook Community Action Program, summed up her excitement about helping community members with taxes, saying, “Between 2021 tax credits and the $850 Inflation Relief Payment, I was able to get a 92-year-old who still lives in her own home over $1,900.”

Funding sources for CA$H Maine include the John T. Gorman Foundation, VITA Grant (federal government), Maine Equal Justice, and the State of Maine. CA$H Maine relies on volunteers who help people in communities across Maine to file their taxes for free.

Learn more at cashmaine.org.