Haven’t filed your federal and state income taxes yet? Don’t panic, help is still available. The African Cultural Alliance of North America, Inc. (ACANA), in collaboration with the African Caribbean Business Council of Greater Philadelphia (ACBC), is providing free income tax preparation services to residents of Philadelphia and the surrounding Pennsylvania counties until May 17. The services also are available to self-employed independent contractors and small businesses.


The federal and Pennsylvania income tax filing deadlines for the 2020 tax year have been extended to May 17, 2021. Taxpayers can also postpone federal income tax payments for the 2020 tax year to May 17 without penalties and interest regardless of the amount owed. This also applies to self-employment tax. In addition, taxpayers who need more time to file past the May 17 deadline can file for an extension until Oct. 15.


“This is an important year for filing taxes,” explained Mamapalo Mokeyane, ACBC project manager. “The CARES Act included several new tax options to help small businesses affected by the pandemic. If you didn’t file last year you can still file for past years’ taxes and receive up to 3 years of refunds. Even if you’re usually a non-filer, you need to file electronically to get your stimulus payments. Our CPAs want to make sure people get all of the payments and refunds due to them.”


The CARES Act tax help for the self-employed allows business owners to carry Net Operating Losses from 2018, 2019 and 2020 back up to five years if your business lost money due to the pandemic. Businesses that helped idle workers on payroll during the pandemic may qualify for an employee retention tax credit worth half of the employee’s wages and health plan costs. The Act also allows employers to defer payment of their share of 2020 payroll taxes. Deferred amounts must be paid by December 31, 2021, by which time 50% is due with the remaining 50% due by December 31, 2022.


Taxpayers who need help must call 215-729-8225 to book an appointment to drop-off their tax documents at the ACANA office located at 5530 Chester Avenue. Masks are required. Mokeyane said tax filers must submit the following documents:


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