And what we are doing to change that.
The IRS estimates 23% of the Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) go unclaimed each tax season. As many of us prepare for our annual routine of maximizing our own tax returns, these millions are left on the table every year – money that can make a huge difference to some of the neediest families in our communities.
With EITC Awareness Day approaching on January 30, United Way, Bank of America, and our community partners and volunteers are gearing up to help thousands of local residents make sure they are able to take advantage of this critical source of earned income.
To put it by the numbers:
- $833 million was claimed in Earned Income Tax Credits in the 2014 tax season by eligible, low-income working individuals.
- The average amount the individual received is $2,050
- Based on last year’s information, this means approximately $166 million could go unclaimed this year in Massachusetts.
So what is being done about it? For the past 8 years, with funding from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and community partners like Quincy Community Action Programs, Neighborhood Developers in Chelsea, and others, United Way has been providing opportunities for free tax preparation assistance and help maximizing the Earned Income Tax Credit and other credits and refunds.
In the 2014 tax season, this partnership returned a total of $2.9 million in EITC credits, and $10.2 million in total refunds and credits, to 4,515 residents through 10 community-based organizations in eastern Massachusetts.
Bank of America employees last year also volunteered nearly 600 hours of service to complement their financial support. Many of them have made it an annual tradition to offer their time and expertise, working directly with residents to help them maximize their returns.
The impact of this program to local families is huge – and still has so much untapped, unclaimed potential to be even greater.
So what can you do?
- Interested in volunteering as a tax preparer or at one of our financial stability centers to help local low income families? Contact Kate Kerrigan at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Do you know anyone in these communities who could benefit from EITC tax prep services? Help spread the word.
2015 EITC Tax Prep community partners include:
- Massachusetts Community Action Partners (MASSCAP)
- The Neighborhood Developers (Chelsea)
- Urban Edge (Roxbury)
- Lawrence Community Works
- Greater Lawrence Community Action Council
- Quincy Community Action Partners
- Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (East Boston)