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NJ 2-1-1 Supports Struggling New Jerseyans, Connects Low-to-Moderate Income Earners to Tax Assistance Sites


 Every year at this time, NJ 2-1-1 staff is helping to ensure that the refund is not left “on the table” by answering calls for information on locations where free tax filing assistance is available.

Hundreds of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) locations are listed on the organization’s website, “There isn’t a day that goes by that we are not sharing this information with our callers and web visitors,” says call center director, Janice Kaniewski.

With the help of many community partners, including the United Ways of New Jersey, NJ 2-1-1 starts to identify these locations as early as December. “We put such effort into compiling this comprehensive listing of VITA sites, because VITA connects people with an important tax credit that they might otherwise miss out on,” continues Ms. Kaniewski.

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The refund to which she is referring is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and for years it has been putting real money back into the hands of hard working citizens throughout the country. Workers who file what is known as a simple tax return to state and federal government could receive refunds from both.

The EITC is available to those who worked full- or part-time or were self-employed in 2016. Depending upon one’s income and family size, federal credits range from $506 to $6,269 and state refunds may amount to anywhere from $178 to $2,195. To qualify, you must file a tax return even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to file, and you must meet income eligibility requirements which can be found on the organization’s website [].

Gina Plotino, NJ2-1-1 board president, cautions that those eligible for free tax preparation may be induced to select a for-profit tax preparer who offers refund advances. “I urge eligible earners to understand the terms. Typically, such advances are actually loans for which interest is charged in addition to cost of preparation.  NJ 2-1-1 strongly encourages families to seek out IRS-certified free tax sites in their communities through NJ 2-1-1, to ensure you realize your full benefit."

In addition to providing information on VITA locations, the NJ 2-1-1 website,,  provides visitors with full access to the 2-1-1 resource database of over 10,000 programs and services from approximately 3,000 organizations. Web visitors will also find informative pages that provide comprehensive information like application links, eligibility guidelines and critical dates. Special sections of the site are devoted to such topics as Emergency Preparedness, Family Services, Home Energy Assistance, Utility Assistance, and Resources for the Unemployed among others.

2-1-1 is the free, user-friendly phone number that serves people throughout the U.S., connecting millions each year to critical resources, information and services. In New Jersey, more than 363,000 people turned to NJ 2-1-1 for help last year. Services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and are free, confidential and multilingual.

About NJ 2-1-1

The statewide information and referral service began in 2002 when the United Ways of New Jersey spearheaded efforts to give people-in-need a central location to call when looking for health and human services. The Board of Public Utilities designated the NJ 2-1-1 Partnership as the sole administrator of the three digit dialing code. Statewide coverage began in 2005. In 2016 alone, the NJ 2-1-1 Partnership provided resource assistance to over 363,000 people who called 2-1-1 or visited our website. With roughly 3,000 agencies in the organization’s resource database and over 10,000 programs and services listed, NJ 2-1-1 provides the public with front door access to non-profit, government and faith-based services, as well as disaster response information. Follow us on Twitter @NJ211 and FB https: //

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Shop of the morning to you! It’s that time of year when everyone’s color is green! Stop by Sadie's to get your St. Patty’s shirt before the big day. While your here and feeling lucky check out our latest Spring styles for Men and Women. You may make your friends green with envy.

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AtlantiCast: Episode 13

On this episode of AtlantiCast, new clinical studies in the fields of cardiology and immunotherapy, national and statewide recognitions for Atlantic Health System medical centers and the inaugural AtlantiCast Collab Challenge!


South Orange Police Blotter - Adult Arrests for Shoplifting and DWI Reported

March 16, 2018

South Orange Police Blotter as of March 16

Adult Arrest/Shoplifting - William Minitee, a 45 year old Irvington resident was arrested on Thursday, March 8, at approximately 12:40 p.m. for shoplifting. Security officers at the Stop & Shop on Valley Street observed Minitee conceal several items on his person and then flee the store without paying for the items. Officers stopped a subject ...

Maplewood Police Blotter - Home Burglary, Burglary at DeHart Community Center Reported

March 4 - Burglary; At approximately 1:20 a.m., officers observed a male removing several items from inside DeHart Community Center. The male was identified as 22 year old Joe Carr of Irvington. He was arrested and charged with burglary.

March 6 - Burglary; At approximately 11:30 a.m., officers responded to a home on Broadview Avenue on a report of a ...

Most South Orange Maplewood Schools Plan to Participate in National School Walkout on Wednesday, March 14

March 12, 2018

SOUTH ORANGE AND MAPLEWOOD, NJ - On Wednesday, March 14, the Women’s March Youth EMPOWER is organizing a National School Walkout. According to the national march website, the walkout is for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. "to protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods... and to demand Congress ...

South Orange and Maplewood Share Snow Storm Photos

SOUTH ORANGE AND MAPLEWOOD, NJ — TAPinto SOMA wants your snow storm photos!

Send your pictures to and we'll add them here.

Check back later to see what your neighbors have added.

Upcoming Events

Sun, March 18, 2:00 PM

Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, Maplewood

Maplewood Strollers Present John Patrick ...

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, March 18, 3:00 PM

Madison Junior School, Madison

Metropolitan Orchestra of New Jersey Winter ...

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, March 18, 7:00 PM

Bow Tie South Orange Cinemas, South Orange

18th Annual New Jersey Jewish Film Festival

Arts & Entertainment Religions And Spirituality

Mon, March 19, 7:00 PM

Bow Tie South Orange Cinemas, South Orange

18th Annual New Jersey Jewish Film Festival

Arts & Entertainment Religions And Spirituality

Members of Brick City Brims Charged for Alleged Roles in Drug Trafficking Organization

March 17, 2018

NEWARK, NJ – Six members of the Brick City Brims set of the Bloods street gang were arrested last week for their alleged roles in a major drug trafficking organization that dealt heroin in and around Newark.

Tyrone Brown, 34, Lamarr Burwell, 22, and Miles McCloud, 37, all of Newark, and Martin Pettiford, 23, of Irvington, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to ...

Millburn Township Battle Against Proposed Stop & Shop Comes to an End

MILLBURN, NJ --  Alexander McDonald, Millburn Township Business Administrator, announced that the 24-year court battle with Stop & Shop ended with a dismissal before the pending trial commenced. Originally, Millburn Township and the Board of Adjustments faced four separate suits, which was consolidated into one case for trial. 

McDonald stated: "This has been a ...

Commemoration of Jay Kielwasser, Union Animal Control Officer

March 17, 2018

UNION, NJ – A commemoration of the late Jay Kielwasser's work as Union’s Animal Control Officer took place at Wednesday evening’s Board of Health meeting.

Board President Jackie Carter said Kielwasser, who passed away in April, was the first Animal Control officer appointed by the Board of Health. 

“You really don’t know how someone ...

Springfield Residents Cope as Power Slowly Returns

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - As of Saturday afternoon at 5 p.m. Springfield is showing outage of 2,677 or 25 percent, which is down from over 40 percent in the last two hours. It is also down from 68 percent at the peak. Union County at this point is over 20 percent of JCP&L’s statewide outages. Trucks are visible on Township streets with a caravan spotted on ...

Weekly Specials at Ashley Marketplace - March 16 to March 22

March 16, 2018

Shop Ashley Marketplace & Cafe for your everyday needs!

This week's specials are:

Litofish Sardines $5.99ea (Ashley Fish Market)
Total Fage Yogurt 4/$5
Aviv Passover Matzos 2/$7
Ground Beef $3.99lb (Meat)
Roasted Vegetables $7.99lb (Prep Food)
President Brie $6.99lb (Cheese)
Iceberg Lettuce $1.99
Serrano Ham $14.99lb (Deli)
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SOMA Film Festival Starts Friday Night, March 16

The 3rd annual SOMA Film Festival is finishing up the final touches before they kickoff this weekend's event at The Woodland, Bow Tie Cinemas in South Orange, and Maplewood Theater.  

With 16 screening programs there is something for everyone. The popular Kids Program is back for two engagements with both sold out as is the Opening Night Party and Screening. 

Tickets are still ...

West Orange Elementary Teacher Succumbs to Injuries Following Accident

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Washington Elementary School first-grade teacher Patricia Villarosa, 64, of West Orange, died on Friday at University Hospital after being struck by a car on Pleasant Valley Way on Feb. 26.

Villarosa was on her way to the West Orange Board of Education meeting at the time and was struck while crossing Pleasant Valley Way near West Orange High School. The driver, a 55-year-old ...