CONTACT: Lindy Eichenbaum Lent
email@example.comMayor Reminds Low-Income Residents to Apply for the Earned Income Tax CreditFree Tax Preparation Sites Offer Assistance to Low-Income Taxpayers
(DENVER) With W-2 forms beginning to arrive in mailboxes throughout Denver, Mayor John Hickenlooper, the Denver Asset Building Coalition, the American Association of Retired Persons, The Piton Foundation, and the Internal Revenue Service want to promote awareness of the Earned Income Tax Credit and the availability locations throughout the Denver metro area that provide free tax preparation assistance to low-income taxpayers, including non-English speaking taxpayers, individuals with disabilities, and senior citizens.
“We want to ensure that our most economically challenged working individuals and families are taking full advantage of the tax credits available to them,” said Mayor Hickenlooper. “This important community-wide effort aims to put more money in the pockets of lower income taxpayers.”
A powerful work incentive and antipoverty tool, the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable credit offered through the Internal Revenue Service to working families who, in 2004, earned less than $35,458. Even workers who aren’t raising a child can get the EITC, if they earned less than $12,490 in 2004 and were between the ages of 25 and 64. In 2002, the most recent tax year for which data is available, there were 57,992 EITC claims in Denver. The average EITC in Denver last year was between $1,500 and $1,600.
National estimates indicate that approximately 15% of eligible families do not claim the EITC. In Denver, it is estimated that low-income residents lose an estimated $8 million per year in unclaimed Earned Income Tax Credits. Additionally, many families that apply for the EITC pay someone to complete their tax forms, which can cost $150 or more and takes away from the value of the EITC. By coordinating a region-wide volunteer effort to provide free tax preparation help, the Denver Asset Building Coalition (DABC) – a consortium of community organizations - seeks to help taxpayers claim this money.
The DABC sites and other facilities, including Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) sites and AARP TAX-AIDE sites, offer free tax preparation for individuals with low to moderate income, generally making $36,000 or less per household. Volunteers at these sites assist with preparing basic income tax returns, including Form 1040EZ, Form 1040A, and Form 1040, along with associated schedules and related paperwork.
Taxpayers can call 2-1-1 to locate the nearest free tax assistance site or they may locate the sites nearest to them on the Internet at www.piton.org or www.denverabc.org. Most sites offer IRS e-file (electronic filing) and bilingual assistance free of charge. Many sites also offer free bank accounts and additional financial services. Individuals who file their tax return electronically and select to have their refund automatically deposited into their bank account can receive their refund in 7-10 days, reducing the need for and extra costs of “quick tax refunds” or “refund anticipation loans.”
When seeking assistance at a free tax preparation location, individuals should bring the following: this year's tax package received in the mail (if available); Social Security number cards or ITIN cards for all family members; a photo identification, their spouse (if filing jointly), all W-2, 1099 and/or other income forms; information for all deductions and credits if available; a copy of last year's tax return if available; and a bank account and routing number for payment or refund processing.
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