United Way Gives Families A Helping Hand During Tax Season

Natalie Horowitz
January 24, 2012

United Way of Broward County, in collaboration with community partners, is proud to offer an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program, providing free tax assistance to low-income families in the community. In addition, United Way of Broward County’s Mobile Resource Center, along with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) workers, is touring the county through April 14 in order to reach residents who do not have the ability or means to access accountants nor financial advisors.

The program ensures more Broward County residents have the opportunity to file for Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) and they receive the funds they desperately need. Last year, EITC recipients in Broward County received more than $476,000,000.

“It is crucial Broward County residents know what tax credits are available, how they can qualify, and where to file. These credits amount to significant funds that will filter into Broward County and improve the lives of many who are living paycheck to paycheck,” said Howard Bakalar, Senior Vice President, Chief Program Officer of Community Impact, United Way of Broward County.

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) programs provide federal tax benefits for low and moderate-income workers. The EITC benefit can be worth up to $5,751 for families who worked in 2011. Workers raising children who earned less than a household income of about $49,078 in 2011 may be eligible for the EITC. In order to claim the credits, eligible workers must file a tax return.

Preparing a tax return can be complicated, and tax filers often seek help from commercial tax preparers who charge high fees that ultimately reduce the value of any refund the worker is eligible to receive. According to national estimates, 20 to 25 percent of eligible workers do not claim their EITC benefits, equaling millions of dollars that are not being distributed to working families who earn tax credits.

United Way of Broward County is also hosting Broward County’s Earned Income Tax Credit Kickoff on Thursday, January 26, 2012 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Tamarac Community Center. Guests will hear compelling facts and statistics from leaders representing each of the community partners as well as Broward County Human Services and Internal Revenue Services. Attendees who earn a household income of less than $49,078 can have their taxes filed for free aboard the Mobile Resource Center.

Community partners in this collaborative effort include:  United Way of Broward County, Children’s Services Council of Broward County, Hispanic Unity of Florida, Urban League of Broward County, Wells Fargo, JM Family Enterprises, Inc., Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc., 2-1-1 Broward, Internal Revenue Service, Broward County, HandsOn Broward, and Minority Development & Empowerment, Inc.

For the Mobile Resource Center schedule, please contact Maria Ceballos of Hispanic Unity at (954) 964-8884 ext. 257 or aceballos@hispanicunity.org. Please visit www.irs.gov to view a complete list of EITC income limits, maximum credit amounts, and tax law updates. For more information, call 2-1-1 to find a VITA preparation site near you.

About United Way of Broward County
United Way of Broward County is a volunteer driven, community-based, non-profit organization servicing Broward County for more than 70 years. United Way of Broward County mission is to focus and unite the entire community to create significant lasting change in the impact areas of education, income and health, the building blocks for a better life, which positively impacts people’s lives. United Way of Broward County is the catalyst for change and convener of partnerships that unite the hearts, minds, and resources within the Broward community. For more information, visit www.unitedwaybroward.org.

About the Mobile Resource Center
The Mobile Resource Center is part of the Center for Working Families, a collaborative effort among United Way of Broward County, Hispanic Unity of Florida, Urban League of Broward County, and the Children’s Services Council of Broward County. The Center for Working Families will assist members of the community who need individualized emergency and economic development services so that they can achieve and maintain economic stability.
 

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