Detroiters urged to seek tax credit for larger refund

Christine Ferretti
The Detroit News

Detroit —The city on Thursday unveiled an outreach campaign designed to help thousands of residents get a larger tax refund.

Mayor Mike Duggan made the announcement at City Hall along with officials from the Accounting Aid Society, the Internal Revenue Service, United Way for Southeastern Michigan and community organizations, the city said in a news release.

Officials say about 26,000 Detroit households are eligible for the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit, but do not apply for it, leaving upwards of $80 million dollars unclaimed.

Through its new outreach effort, the city and its partners will encourage residents to file a tax return to claim the credit. To help, the aid society said it will train more than 500 volunteers to assist with free tax preparation at 30 sites across Detroit, including the first floor of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center.

“The earned income tax credit can put money directly in Detroiters’ pockets and could even make the difference in their ability to stay in their home or pay their utility bills,” Duggan said in the statement. “For far too long Detroit hasn’t claimed its share of EITC dollars, and we want to make sure they receive everything they are entitled to.”

A single individual age 25-64 who has no children to claim and works a part-time, minimum wage job and earned $8,300 in 2016, could get back as much as $500. Meanwhile, a married couple with three or more children who file jointly, with combined income of $23,000, would receive the maximum Earned Income Credit of $6,269, the city noted.

The credit is available to working families and individuals who meet certain income requirements. The tax credit depends on income, filing status and the number of dependents claimed on a taxpayer’s return.

To receive the credit, the city notes, individuals must file a tax return regardless of whether they owe any tax or are otherwise not required to file.

Cities for Financial Empowerment and Community Economic Development Association of Michigan are also supporting the initiative. Additionally, OUTFRONT Media has provided 30 free billboards to encourage residents to apply for the credit.

“The EITC is an important tax benefit for working people and their families. But to get it, you must file a tax return and claim it,” added AAS President Kathleen Hatke Aro.

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