City, Partners Announce Earned Income Tax Credit & Savings Day in Philadelphia and Opening of 11 Free Tax Preparation Sites

Date: 
January 28, 2011

Today city officials and partners joined The Campaign for Working Families to announce the opening of 11 free tax preparation sites throughout Philadelphia.

The announcement took place on “Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Day,” a nationwide effort to increase public awareness about the EITC and free tax preparation sites. It marks the 36th year the credit has been lifting working people out of poverty.

In addition, the Campaign revealed that new this tax season is the ability to buy U.S. Savings Bonds with a portion or all of your tax refund for yourself or others.

Otis Bullock, Jr., executive director, Mayor’s Office of Community Service, read a Mayoral Proclamation declaring it Earned Income Tax Credit & Savings Day in Philadelphia. “Thefederal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a major financial boost for working families hit hardby these tough economic times. . . Philadelphia’s citizens are encouraged to file for the EITC atone of the free tax preparation sites. Individuals may also take advantage of the opportunity thistax season by buying U.S. Savings Bonds utilizing IRS Tax Form 8888.”

From January 24 through April 18, 2011, 11 free tax sites will be open throughout Philadelphia, offering e-filing, direct deposit, U.S. Savings Bonds, FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) completion and fairly-priced financial products to help you save money.

The locations of the Campaign's free tax preparation sites can be found on the websitewww.phillyfreetaxes.org or call 311.

Khadijah Jones, director, The Campaign for Working Families, said “We can put money in your pocket. In addition to filing your taxes, we can help you put some money aside in savings bonds or get a low-fee prepaid debit card. We also do financial student aid applications. All of ourservices are designed to help working people improve their finances.”

Free tax preparation services are available to families who earned less than $49,000 in 2010 or if you are single with an income under $20,000. Taxes are prepared by IRS-certified volunteers, who are trained to help you get all of your tax credits as quickly as possible.

EITC is a tax benefit for families and individuals who earned, in 2010, less than $48,362 (have children) or less than $13,460 (no children). EITC refunds can be up to $5,666 per year, based on family size and income. Joining Khadijah Jones at the event were Joanna Smith-Ramani, director of strategy, Doorways to Dreams (D2D) Fund; James Daugherty, SPEC Territory Manager, IRS; LaSha’ Bonner-Fincher, tax filer and Saving Bonds purchaser; City Councilwoman Marian Tasco; Otis Bullock Jr., executive director, Mayor’s Office of Community Service; and Sharmain Matlock-Turner, president, Urban Affairs Coalition.

Immediately after the event, Bonner-Fincher, a single mom with a three-year old daughter, went to the Center City Super Site, Mayor’s Office of Community Service, 1113 Chestnut Street, to purchase two $250.00 Saving Bonds for her daughter and for herself.

“After filing my taxes for free last year, and the Campaign working hard to get me the largest refund amount possible, I am excited to purchase a Savings Bond this year,” said Bonner-Fincher. “As a young mother raising a daughter, I know the importance of saving up for a rainy day and the power of investing. I'll be graduating from Temple University with a bachelors in Communications in a few weeks. As a graduation gift, my aunt will present me with two savings bonds that my deceased mother bought for me when I was a young child.”

Added Bonner-Fincher “It means a lot to me knowing my mother wanted to invest in my future. And though she's not here now, and hasn't been for most of my life, she still found a way to look out for me. Now I am keeping the tradition by buying a Saving Bond for my daughter.”

In January 2011, the IRS announced that you can buy U.S. Series I Savings Bonds with a portion or all of your tax refund for yourself or anyone. Smith-Ramini has been encouraging tax filers to invest part of their refunds in bonds. “For as little as $50, tax payers now have a simple, secure way to put money aside and watch it grow over time. The opportunity gives easy assess to a saving opportunity for themselves and as gifts for their children, grandchildren or other loved ones.”

ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN FOR WORKING FAMILIES:

The Campaign for Working Families, a program partner of the Urban Affairs Coalition, boosts the number of people who receive FREE tax filing assistance and do not have to pay sky-high fees to commercial tax preparers. Over the past eight years, the Campaign has brought $146.4 million directly into the homes of low-income working families. And saved these families an additional estimated $20.2 million in interest, fees, and charges for tax preparation and check cashing, and loans.The Campaign offers e-filing, direct deposit, U.S. Savings Bonds, FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) completion and fairly-priced financial products to help you save money.This service allows working families and individuals to maximize federal and state tax credits,including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). For more information visit phillyfreetaxes.org

ABOUT DOORWAYS TO DREAM (D2D) FUND:

D2D Fund seeks to expand access to financial services, especially asset building opportunities, for low-income families by creating, testing and deploying innovative financial products and services.  D2D works with the financial services industry, national non-profit groups, grassroots community agencies, and public policy organizations to generate promising ideas, pilot test systems and programs, build awareness of the needs and potential of low-income communities, and advocate progressive social and economic policy.