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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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Trump case expected to head to the jury today; IN food banks concerned about draft Farm Bill; NH parents, educators urge veto of anti-LGBTQ+ bills; Study shows a precipitous drop in migratory fish populations, in US and worldwide.

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Actor Robert DeNiro joins Capitol Police officers to protest against Donald Trump at his New York hush money trial as both sides make closing arguments. And the Democratic Party moves to make sure President Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

During tax time crunch, multilingual sites in MN pitch in

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Friday, April 5, 2024   

Minnesotans who haven't completed their tax returns yet might be fretting about meeting the April 15th deadline. For those facing language barriers or other resource issues, the concern is even greater, but help is available. In the Twin Cities and around Minnesota, there are free tax preparation sites staffed with multi-lingual volunteers, including those who speak Spanish. And the organization COPAL provides plenty of tax guidance to Latino populations in the communities it serves.

Claudia Lainez, Workers' Center director of the Communities Organizing Latino Power and Action said that includes assisting undocumented individuals as they get ready to file their returns. Despite certain myths, she said they are required to pay taxes like everyone else.

"And they pay a lot more taxes because, sometimes, they are not eligible for credits," she explained.

A key change this year is that these households are eligible for Minnesota's new Child Tax Credit. Undocumented people file their returns using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or I-TIN. COPAL and partner organizations can help secure this tool. On its website, the state Department of Revenue lists free preparation sites that help those who speak little or no English.

Some of these locations are by appointment only or have limited hours. Meanwhile, Lainez said part of their education is explaining to immigrants who are new to the state the importance of paying taxes.

"We have to provide information that taxes are good for the infrastructure of the city where you live in - for schools, for example, " she continued.

With less than two weeks before the tax filing deadline, she says there's also guidance for information seekers on how to get an extension. Certain sites in the state also help Hmong, Somali and Vietnamese populations.

Disclosure: COPAL MN contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Environmental Justice, Immigrant Issues, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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