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2007 Media Releases


Date:
January 18, 2007
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Rick G. Carter, Human Services Federation, 441-4399
June Pederson, Area Agency on Aging, 441-7022


MAYOR SENG PROMOTES FREE TAX ASSISTANCE
Mayor kicks off Lincoln’s Earned Income Tax Credit Campaign

Mayor Coleen J. Seng today encouraged families with low or moderate incomes and elderly residents to use the free services available in Lincoln for preparing their federal and state tax returns. Mayor Seng, the Human Services Federation and the Lincoln Tax Assistance Coalition joined in launching the Lincoln Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Campaign to help working families keep more money in their pockets.

Free tax preparation help is available at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites at many libraries, cultural centers and other locations throughout the city. The University of Nebraska - Lincoln is offering assistance the week of January 29 at the East Union and the week of February 19 at the City Campus Union. For those age 60 and older, AARP Tax-Aide volunteers are providing assistance at three ActivAge Centers and two libraries. Schedules are attached to this release.

“There are elderly people and hard-working families in our community who are struggling financially,” said Mayor Seng. “When they file their taxes, we want to make sure they are aware of all the credits for which they are eligible. The volunteer tax preparers are trained to help them, and I want to thank all those involved for offering this important service in our community.”

The EITC is a special tax benefit for working people who earn low or moderate incomes. It is designed to reduce the tax burden on these workers, to supplement wages and to provide a work incentive. Those who qualify can get back some or all of the federal income tax deducted from their pay. Even workers whose earnings are too small to owe income tax can get the credit. EITC also offsets any additional taxes workers may owe, such as payroll taxes.

“The EITC has a definite economic impact by getting money into the pockets of those who need it most,” said Rick Carter Executive Director of the Human Services Federation and Chair of the Lincoln Tax Assistance Coalition. “The money is there to help them with their immediate needs, and we’ve also seen families saving the money to help build their assets through home ownership and small business creation and expansion.”

Last year, the Lincoln Coalition prepared 3,700 federal and state tax returns, helping families receive a total of $3.5 million in refunds. This year also marks the beginning of a Nebraska EITC, which was passed into law last year. This is worth 8 percent of the federal EITC refund.

The Lincoln Coalition is a public, private and non-profit collaboration of the Internal Revenue Service, the Human Services Federation, U.S. Bank, The University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Wells Fargo, Lincoln City Libraries, the Lincoln Action Program, the Salvation Army, the Asian Community and Cultural Center, El Centro de las Americas and other local organizations. Its goals are to increase income and build the assets of low-income families and individuals in Lincoln and Lancaster County. The group is also part of a state and national movement to assist people who are working but still unable to make ends meet.

To use the service, individuals must provide photo identification; Social Security cards and birth dates for all family members; W-2s and Form1099s; other relevant tax information such as interest paid on mortgages and student loans, charitable donations, child care bills and the ID numbers of day care providers; a copy of last year’s federal and state tax returns; and bank routing and account numbers for direct deposit. Married filers must both be present to sign forms.

More information is available by:

  • calling 2-1-1;
  • contacting the Human Services Federation at 441-4399 or
  • contacting the Lincoln City Libraries at 441-8530 or lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: library); and
  • contacting the Lincoln Area Agency on Aging at 441-7022 or lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: aging).

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