On Monday, March 11, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), along with Council Member Julissa Ferreras, New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, the Food Bank For New York City, and other community organizations kicked off the federal tax season with an event at the Food Bank For New York City's free tax preparation site to remind New Yorkers that many of them may be eligible for critical tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). An estimated 20 to 25 percent of EITC-eligible workers and CTC-eligible families in New York City fail to claim these tax benefits each year -- leaving hard-earned money on the table. Crowley, who sits on the powerful House Ways & Means Committee, which oversees tax policy, also toured the tax preparation site and viewed the free tax prep they provide to the community in English, Spanish and Chinese languages.
"At a time when every dollar counts, it is important that hard-working New Yorkers know what tax benefits are available to them and learn how to keep more money in their pockets," said Rep. Crowley. "The Department of Consumer Affairs and the Food Bank For New York City provide an invaluable service to the community and I thank them for their efforts in helping guide New Yorkers through the tax filing process."
"With the tax filing deadline approaching, I strongly urge my constituents to learn about the tax benefits that may be available to them," said Council Member Julissa Ferreras. "As a member of the Finance Committee, I know that all too often, many people are not taking full advantage of the credits that are at their disposal. For low-to-moderate income workers, these benefits can make a big difference."
"The EITC can put as much as $7,950 back into the pockets of eligible New Yorkers, and we have 85 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites where a certified volunteer will prepare your taxes for free and make sure you get every dollar of your refund," said New York City Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz. "In fact, over the past decade, the Mayor's EITC Campaign has helped New Yorkers claim more than $20 billion in federal, State and City refunds, including $1 billion directly through the City's network of free and low-cost sites. I join Representative Crowley in encouraging New Yorkers to file for free or low cost through the City's tax preparation services and to save some of their refund by signing up for SaveUSA, which gives participants the chance to qualify for a 50 percent match. Contact 311 or visit nyc.gov/taxprep for more information."
"The Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit are bright spots in this still-dark economy," said Food Bank For New York City President & CEO Margarette Purvis. "By providing much-needed cash to those individuals and families who are working hard and still struggling to make ends meet, the stimulus effect is immediate and local. The Food Bank is enormously grateful to Congressman Crowley for his ongoing support and for making this program a priority."
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable federal income tax credit for low-to-moderate-income working individuals and families. Working families with children who earn less than $50,300 in income in 2012 may be eligible for this important tax refund worth almost $6,000. The Child Tax Credit (CTC) is a refundable tax credit that gives taxpayers a tax credit for each qualifying child under the age of 17. This tax credit generally is worth $1,000 per child. A refundable tax credit is a tax credit that, once it exceeds the amount of taxes owed by an individual, results in a tax refund to those who claim and qualify for the credit. The EITC and CTC tax credits are an important and successful tool to help lift low-to moderate-income individuals and families out of poverty and into self-sufficiency.
In the recently-enacted American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which was signed into law on January 2, 2013, the EITC, CTC, and other important refundable tax credits for lower-wage working families were extended for five years.