For Immediate Release
February 07, 2012
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office
Today Mayor Thomas M. Menino kicked off Boston’s eleventh Earned Income Tax Credit Campaign (EITC) announcing the opening of 22 free tax prep centers across the city to assist residents in filing their taxes and claiming the EITC credit. EITC is the federal government’s largest program benefiting working families, and this campaign strives to ensure that every eligible Bostonian takes advantage of this often overlooked credit. Last year more than 12,000 Boston taxpayers used the available tax centers to file their taxes for free, receiving upwards of $21 million in total tax credits.
“Working families are due upwards of $5,700 dollars with the EITC tax credit. That is money that can be used to save for the future, pay bills, or make important purchases,” Mayor Menino said. “Our free tax prep centers are open to make sure that the money that residents have worked hard for all year goes back into their pockets.”
Residents who qualify for EITC can go to the tax prep site in their community and have their taxes done for free. The 2011 EITC income limits are $43,998 ($49,078 if married filing jointly) for families with three or more children; $40,964 ($46,044 if married filing jointly) for families with two or more children; $36,052 ($41,132 if married filing jointly) for families with one child or $13,660 ($18,740 if married filing jointly) if there are no children. Investment income must be $3,150 or less, and children must meet certain relationship and residency requirements. To find out if you qualify for the tax credit, call 617.918.5275 or visit www.bostontaxhelp.org.
The 2011 EITC maximum credit is $5,751 for a family with three or more children; $5,112 for a family with two or more children, $3,094 for a family with one child and $464 if there are no children. All tax prep sites use E-file and allow tax filers to receive their tax refund within 7 to 10 days.
The Boston EITC Campaign is a coalition of community organizations. Hundreds of volunteers are recruited and trained in tax preparation annually on free software and training materials provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In 2011, 350 volunteers participated, preparing 12,000 returns and putting $21 million back into resident’s pockets. In the last decade more than 2,000 volunteers have served 78,000 tax payers, resulting in refunds of more than $100 million dollars and more than $40 million in EITC refunds.
Several key long term Boston EITC Campaign partners include Dotwell, a collaboration betweenCodmanSquareHealthCenterand Dorchester House, which did almost 3,000 returns in 2011 with the assistance of over 50 volunteers. TheRoxburyResourceCenterinDudley Squareprepares more than 1,500 free tax returns annually. Other partners include ABCD,1199SEIU, Morgan Memorial Goodwill, Work Inc, and JVS. This year Urban Edge supporting Roxbury and Jamaica Plain has joined the partnership.
All tax prep sites use E-File, which presents taxpayers with their refund within seven to ten days, and many sites offer financial counseling and information related to other economic services, including food stamps. The EITC Ambassador Program offers translation services in Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Somali, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Cape Verdean Creole.
In addition to helping residents file their taxes and claiming the EITC, the tax prep centers offer other valuable resources:
- Residents can buy low risk Series I U.S savings bonds at the tax prep centers. These bonds are indexed for inflation and have proven to be a successful savings strategy for low and middle income Americans. Access to these bonds at prep sites was implemented in 2009 by the Obama administration andBostonwas one of 4 national pilot sites. Last year more than 100 US Savings Bonds were sold inBoston, and 45,000 were sold nationwide.
- FAFSA preparation is available at tax sites, as well as credit advising and benefits screening.
- In support of this important work, the Mayor's Health Line has extended their service hours to provide telephone service during the evenings and weekends of the season when residents need it most.
- The EITC Ambassadors program provides assistance to residents who are not native-English speakers to ensure they can navigate the tax assistance in their native language.
- Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries has increased its programming to assist tax payers from the disability community to accommodate their needs.