City of Lincoln
2008 Media Releases
January 31 is National Earned Income Tax Credit Day
Mayor Chris Beutler 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 Beutler, the Human Services Federation and the Lincoln CASH (Creating Assets, Savings and Hope) Campaign 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 located at libraries, cultural centers and other locations throughout the city. The University of Nebraska - Lincoln is offering assistance January 26 through February 10 at the East Campus Union and from February 24 through March 2 at the City Campus Union. For those age 60 and older, AARP Tax-Aide volunteers are providing assistance at the Downtown ActivAge Centers and two libraries. Schedules are attached to this release.
“There are hard-working families in our community who are struggling financially,” said Mayor Beutler. “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 CASH Campaign. “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 CASH Campaign prepared 3,800 federal and state tax returns, helping families receive a total of $3.8 million in refunds. Tax payers may also be eligible for the Nebraska EITC, which is worth eight percent of the federal EITC refund.
The Lincoln CASH Campaign is a public, private and non-profit collaboration of the Internal Revenue Service, the Human Services Federation, Pinnacle Bank, The University of Nebraska, Southeast Community College, Union College, Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln City Libraries, Lincoln Parks and Recreation, the Lincoln Action Program, Good Neighbor Community Center, the Indian Center, Lincoln Literacy, 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:
How the Earned Income Tax Credit has helped my family, year after year.
Take a trip with me back to December 1992, two months after the great winter storm that wiped out power for most of Eastern Nebraska. I’m living with my mother, her father, and my 10 month old daughter. I awake to an agitated baby at 6:15a.m., and as I’m getting up to get dressed, the fire alarm goes off. My heart starts racing as I grab my daughter and head for the stairs. First I think it’s a false alarm, but then I’m bombarded by black smoke. I choke and cough and immediately cover my daughter’s face. We literally escaped with the clothes on our back.
Now fast forward to February 1993, my family is still recovering from that devastating fire just over a month prior. My mother has her taxes done and is informed of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). She receives a refund that helps us to buy much needed items, as well as something we thought of as a pure luxury; a washer and dryer.
The next year, I file my taxes for the first time and am overjoyed to find out that I will be receiving $800. To many people who are on their own, this may not be very much, but I was able to purchase my first car and paid for my senior pictures.
Every year since, I have received some sort of refund thanks to the EITC. The refund varies each year, depending on how much I earned. Thanks to my refund in 2006, I was given the opportunity to turn my favorite hobby into a small part-time business; portrait photography. I used a portion of my refund to purchase equipment and other needed items.
Without the EITC, I would be lost. I’ve used it to pay bills, reduce my debt, and purchase items that most people take for granted; like beds to sleep in. The EITC has even helped me better my life with allowing me new opportunities, such as with my photography business.
While I have used the EITC for some exciting purchases in my life, this season I’m looking forward the most to using it to help me catch up on some monthly bills. It’s been a rough year, but I know I can stay afloat thanks to the EITC.