PHILADELPHIA Pa. - The City of Philadelphia has launched its second annual awareness and support campaign to help tens-of-thousands of Philadelphia residents apply for the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
Officials estimate that 40,000 Philadelphia residents are eligible but don’t apply for EITC, leaving nearly $100 million in tax credits unclaimed. The campaign will continue to work to dispel the misconception that filing is complex and costly, increase awareness of the EITC, help Philadelphia residents determine if they are eligible, and guide them through the filing process in a way that is convenient and non-intimidating.
“The Philadelphians who qualify for the Federal EITC work hard, and many of them find it challenging to make ends meet, support their loved ones and provide a quality life for themselves and their families,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Whether it’s a few hundred dollars or a couple thousand, this extra money can make a huge difference in their lives. So we need to continue getting the word out.”
Last year more than 17,000 tax returns were prepared for free at City-sponsored sites which totaled $19.3 million in refunds. This included $7.5 million of EITC refunds. This was an increase of 12,000 compared to the 5,000 returns in Tax Year 2014.
“The Earned Income Tax Credit can potentially have a significant impact on the lives of many throughout our City and we must do everything we can to promote the financial benefits individuals and families could ultimately receive,” said Councilman Allan Domb. “I am proud to join the Mayor, his administration, my colleagues on City Council and all our external partners with the EITC awareness campaign and am hopeful that Philadelphians will take advantage of this very real opportunity this tax season.”
The average Federal EITC refund amount available in Philadelphia is almost $2,500. The 2016 maximum income level for claiming the EITC refund ranges between $14,880, and $53,505, depending upon whether a person is filing as single, head of household, or married filing jointly, as well as the number of qualifying children they claim. Maximum benefits range from $506 to $6,269.
“We know that it’s important to not only provide information about the EITC, but to also make it easier and less costly for Philadelphians to claim it,” said Revenue Commissioner Frank Breslin. “With that in mind we are removing the barriers Philadelphians may face when trying to obtain the refunds they are entitled to. By offering free tax prep right in their neighborhood, with flexible hours, translation services, and by connecting with community leaders and organizations that residents already turn to, we are making applying for the EITC convenient and easy for Philadelphians juggling work, family, and all other aspects of their lives.”
To that end, the Department’s “You Earned It” program includes free tax preparation services by IRS-certified preparers, available at 20 locations throughout Philadelphia for taxpayers eligible for the EITC.
To implement this vital component of the campaign, the City has partnered with the Campaign for Working Families, a non-profit organization committed to helping working families and individuals achieve economic empowerment, as well as PathwaysPA, one of the region’s foremost providers of residential and community-based services for women, children and families.
To qualify residents must:
• Not exceed earned income and meet income limits
• Be between the ages of 25-65 or have a qualifying child
• Have been a U.S. citizen or resident alien during the entire calendar year of 2016
• Have a valid Social Security number
The filing deadline for the 2016 Federal EITC is April 18, 2017. Eligible taxpayers can also still file or amend returns for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 EITC if they haven’t already. The Philadelphia Department of Revenue is encouraging filing sooner rather than later.
Residents can text FILE to 99000 or visit www.YouEarnedItPhilly.com to get more information on the EITC and a list of locations offering tax preparation services through the City’s program.
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