Local residents can receive valuable help during the tax season from Community Action Partnership, which is providing free tax preparation assistance at its offices at 719 S. Main St., 1912 Needmore Rd., and at the Youth Empowerment Center at 716 E. Main St. in Trotwood. This year many workers will qualify for the Earned Income Credit (EIC) for the first time because their income decreased or they became unemployed. Tax refunds through the EIC and Child Tax Credit (CTC) can help low- and moderate-income families cover day-to-day expenses such as utilities, rent, and childcare. Families with three or more children also get an extra boost with a larger EIC this year.
The IRS estimates, however, that one-fourth of eligible people could miss out on the EIC because they don’t know about it, don’t know that they qualify, or don’t know where to find free tax filing assistance.
At Community Action Partnership and other tax sites, IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers work one-on-one with families and individuals to help file their tax returns and ensure that they receive the tax credits for which they qualify. In addition, some sites can direct their customers to no-fee bank accounts, credit repair services or financial education classes.
“Workers who earned $48,000 or less in 2010 and were raising children should see if they qualify for the EIC,” said Debra Davenport, coordinator for Community Action Partnership’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program. “Also, single workers not raising children who earned less than $13,460 might qualify for a smaller EIC, but you must file a federal income tax return to claim the EIC–even if you don’t earn enough to owe any federal income taxes.”
In 2010 as part of the Dayton Area EITC/CTC Coalition, Community Action Partnership helped 597 customers electronically file their tax returns at no charge. CAP served customers at the Main St. office, the Needmore Rd. office and at the Youth Empowerment Center in Trotwood. These customers received $1,005,573 in tax refunds. Of those customers, 265 qualified for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC, now known as the Earned Income Credit), worth $415,427. One hundred twenty-seven customers received the Child Tax Credit (CTC), worth $164,622. Some customers also received education and elderly tax credits.
Overall, the Coalition saw customers at nine sites in the community. They filed 2,609 total returns with a refund value of $4,159,975. Included in the total are 1,019 EITC customers who received credits totaling $1,647,151. The total number of returns with the Child Tax Credit was 509, with a value of $618,595.
“Why pay when you can get your taxes done for free?” asks Ms. Davenport. “Many workers pay tax preparers high fees and face excessive interest on refund anticipation loans. Our tax assistance sites help families maximize their tax credits and use them to make ends meet or save for the future.”
Tax assistance is available at Community Action Partnership beginning Tuesday, January 18, through Friday, April 15. The Super Refund Saturday event is Saturday, Feb. 5, at the Dayton Area Job Center. For more information or to make an appointment, contact Community Action Partnership at (937) 341-5000 ext. 161.