FREE Tax Prep For Niagara County Residents Beginning January 31st; Locations in Lockport and Niagara Falls

Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Buffalo Changes Name to Parachute Credit Counseling, Will Continue to Serve as Guide to Financial Stability and Freedom from Debt

Parachute Credit Counseling—formerly known as Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Buffalo (CCCS)–announced today that they will launch the 9th year of their Niagara County Free Tax Preparation Program on January 31, 2023.

Parachute will use a “Drop Off” process with sites in Niagara Falls atPinnacle Community Services, 1522 Main St. and in Lockport at the Lockport Library, 23 East Avenue.

Individuals must contact Parachute’s main office at 716-712-2060 to schedule a time to drop off their documents.  Certified, trained Parachute tax volunteers then prepare the tax returns remotely. Tax filers will be given a time to go back to the Drop Off site to review their return and provide their signature to e-file the return. They will receive a copy of the completed return as well. Those interested are encouraged to call now—716-712-2060–to set up their drop off appointment as appointments book up very quickly.

Parachute also provides additional free services to the community. Certified Financial Counselors work with people of all economic levels to improve their financial stability. The areas of greatest need include debt repayment assistance, credit repair/repayment, credit report review, student loan assistance, budgeting techniques, small business development and housing/homeownership/foreclosure mitigation. Parachute also offers frequent Free Virtual Workshops on relevant, timely topics.

Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Buffalo (CCCS) rebranded to Parachute in December 2022, when they determined they needed a name that better reflected its power and potential.

“We wanted to change our name and logo to reflect our mission of making our clients feel empowered and not embarrassed about their debt,” said Parachute President & CEO Noelle Carter. “It takes courage to make that leap and we are here to be a parachute – a guide – on the journey to financial stability and becoming debt free.” 

Parachute provides the much needed lifeline for many, helping them to smoothly land on the other side of debt.

For more information on Parachute’s service offerings, from one on one counseling sessions to the path to a lifetime free from debt, contact Parachute at 716-712-2060 or visit Home – Parachute (

VITA – Free Tax Preparation Services in Niagara County

CCCS Buffalo has officially launched our 8th year of providing free tax preparation services in Niagara County through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

If your 2021 income was $57,000 or less, you can have
your federal and state taxes e-filed for FREE!
Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, the service this year will function similar to last year’s, in a drop-off/virtual manner, to minimize exposure by limiting face-to-face interactions.  Masks are required.
Individuals will visit one of our two sites to speak with a trained VITA tax volunteer for a short time, drop off their documents, and provide identification and completed intake/consent forms.  Volunteers will conduct the intake process by scanning and uploading documents to secure tax software, then prepare the tax returns offsite/remotely.  Taxpayers will then come back to the physical site 1-2 weeks after their initial appointment to finalize their return, sign off on the e-filing, and obtain a paper copy of their return.
Call us now at (716) 712-2060 to schedule an appointment,
as slots are filling up very quickly!
LOCKPORT: Tuesdays through 4/5/22
Lockport Public Library (Community Room)
23 East Ave
Lockport, NY 14094
Access through the lower level on Grigg Lewis Way, across from Cornerstone Ice Rink
NIAGARA FALLS: Wednesdays through 4/6/22
Pinnacle Community Services
1522 Main St
Niagara Falls, NY 14305
Corner of Main St and Linwood Ave, parking available on Main St or parking lot on Linwood Ave

Help Us Advocate for Increased Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Funding!

The Consumer Credit Counseling Service Niagara County Financial Literacy & Empowerment Coalition has run a VITA FREE Tax Prep Program for the past 7 years. VITA (it stands for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) helps low income individuals and families file their taxes—and access eligible tax credits, like the Earned Income Tax Credit, which ranges from $506-$6,269. It saves people hundreds of dollars in unnecessary tax preparation fees and helps them avoid refund anticipation loans and inflated filing fees.

The average cost of tax prep is around $300 and refund anticipation loans typically cost about $200 per filer. This makes the cost of filing taxes $500 or more!

This problem is compounded by the plentiful for profit tax prep companies that specifically operate in low income neighborhoods, making it so easy for people to get their taxes done…as long as they ignore the high cost. There are over 40 of these predatory companies in Niagara Falls and Lockport and sadly only a few FREE Tax Prep Programs like ours.

VITA services ensure that low income families can easily and properly access the money they are entitled to. In 2020, some VITA programs helped with accessing stimulus payments as well.

In these uncertain times, VITA should be a steady source of help for families.

We are asking you to advocate for increased VITA funding, during this pandemic and into the future.

Specifically, we are calling for full VITA funding at $30 million.

Will you please take a minute and let your members of Congress hear from you and how important VITA is to your community???

It’s really easy!!

Here is a little more info

The Senate Appropriations Committee recently released their draft 2021 funding bill, which calls for full VITA funding at $30 million! Earlier this year, the House released a $28 million VITA funding proposal for 2021. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program relies on federal funding from Congress every year, so take a moment to send our pre-drafted email below to your Members of Congress and request that they support the Senate funding proposal for VITA.

Thank you!

FREE Tax Prep

FREE Tax Prep at Two Niagara County Locations; Call Now to Book Appointment
Don’t Get Ripped Off! For Profit Tax Prep Sites Take Advantage of Low Income Families
There are Over 40 For Profit Sites in Niagara County
Did you know that the City of Niagara Falls has 23 for profit tax prep companies—and that Lockport has 18?  And that they charge on average $500 for a tax refund? Every tax season, for profit tax preparation companies take advantage of low income individuals.
Knowing this, several years ago, Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) formed the Niagara County Financial Literacy Coalition (now known as the Niagara County Financial Empowerment Coalition) to economically empower low income Niagara County residents—and free tax preparation is a central service provided. Our main goal was to provide these services in Niagara County as no other group helped the low income population increase their financial capability. Free Tax Prep Programs in Niagara Falls and Lockport are held every year.
We kick off our 2020 VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Program/Free Tax Prep Program on January 28thbut encourage you to call now to set up an appointment! Our appointments book up very fast.
And here are some more reasons why Free Tax Prep is so important:
  • The average fee charged for a tax return is approximately $350. For those individuals who earn minimum wage, that can represent nearly 5 days of work. This does not include the cost for the “rapid refund” which is usually about $200. Low income filers can easily pay nearly $500. Our goal is to keep that money in the pockets of low income Niagara County residents—and keep them away from the for profit sites which prey on the financially unstable population.
  • To increase their business, for profit tax companies cluster in low income neighborhoods. Current statistics show that nearly 70% of low income families use a commercial tax preparer. This is why our program—and our locations—is vital for our communities.
We have two Niagara County locations:
Orleans/Niagara BOCES: 50 Main Street, Lockport
Tuesdays 3:30 – 7:30 pm
Pinnacle Community Services (Formerly known as Family and Children Services) 1522 Main Street, Niagara Falls
Wednesdays 3:30 – 7:30 pm
Appointments for this service can be scheduled by calling 712-2060. Household income must be approximately $56,000 or less. Appointments are available on Tuesdays in Lockport and on Wednesdays in Niagara Falls from January 28th through April 8, 2020.

Be Savvy – Avoid IRS Scams


Be wary of ANY calls you receive from the IRS. Do not give in to fear tactics, the IRS will never call you to request payment or threaten lawsuits or arrests.

  • Don’t share any of your information –  Call the IRS directly at 1-800-428-1040

  • Never send money, gift cards or any other type of payment!

  • Report these criminals –  You can do so through the FTC’s website at The more reports received, the more likely they can be caught and stopped!

  • Share with your family and friends –  Don’t let those who you know and love get taken advantage of!

Check out this example of a scam call (made to a police officer!)