FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dana Z. Carter
United Way of Greater Greensboro
(Greensboro, NC – January 31, 2014) – Working families may get a larger tax refund this year because of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), but to get it, they must claim it. January 31 marks the 8th National EITC Awareness Day, and United Way of Greater Greensboro is reminding taxpayers that free tax preparation services are available in our community if your household earned $58,000 or less in 2013.
In tax year 2012, more than 27 million workers received $67 billion in EITC refunds. Also that year, in Guilford County approximately $750,000 was claimed for EITC out of over $2.8 million that was returned to our taxpayers through free tax preparation services. In recent years, more than 1 in 5 tax returns from North Carolina were able to claim EITC[i]. Nationwide, millions of people miss out on EITC because they do not claim it on their tax return or they are not required to file taxes.
“Our community’s free tax preparation services will help many families get EITC and the maximum refund they’re due,” says Frank McCain, vice president of community investment and impact at United Way of Greater Greensboro. “This is money they can save or use to pay off bills, buy that car to get to work or make a down payment on a home.”
Here’s how to get started:
STEP 1: Find out if you qualify for EITC.
If you worked last year and had income of less than $51,567 you should check out your eligibility for EITC. For more information about EITC, including eligibility details, visit www.irs.gov/Individuals/EITC-Home-Page–It’s-easier-than-ever-to-find-out-if-you-qualify-for-EITC. You can also receive general guidance by calling MyFreeTaxes at 1-855-MY-TX-HELP (1-855-698-9435). On average, EITC adds $2,300 to working families’ refunds. It can mean an additional $487 for people without children up to $6,044 for those with three or more qualifying children.
STEP 2: If you qualify, make sure you get your credit and save on fees by filing for free.
Locations that offer free tax preparation can be found by dialing 2-1-1, United Way’s Information and Referral line. VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) volunteers are trained by the Internal Revenue Service and can help households that earned $52,000 or less in 2013 prepare their taxes for free and claim the EITC and other tax benefits.
Individuals in households earning up to $58,000 can also file their returns for themselves online throughwww.MyFreeTaxes.com/Greensboro, provided by H&R Block in cooperation with the Walmart Foundation, Goodwill Industries International, National Disability Institute, and United Way Worldwide. Taxpayers filing online have access to tax law experts through online chat or a toll-free phone number.
In addition, many EITC eligible individuals may not receive their full refund because of costly fees from paid tax preparers. For families who are walking a financial tightrope, saving $200 or more can make a big difference in preventing a financial crisis. By helping families make every dollar go farther, United Way is offering solutions that move people towards financial independence and a better quality of life. Call 2-1-1 for details.
On Tuesday, March 4, 2014, United Way will hold a Family Economic Success event featuring free tax preparation services, financial management workshops, and free credit reports in partnership with BB&T Bank. Details coming soon.
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United Way of Greater Greensboro advances the common good by supporting programs, initiatives, member agencies, and partners meeting critical needs in our community in the areas of education, income, and health. United Way is a worldwide network in 41 countries and territories, including more than 1,200 local organizations in the U.S. United Way recruits people and organizations who bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. To give, advocate and volunteer, visitwww.UnitedWayGSO.org.