The City of Detroit kicks off annual campaign to help Detroiters receive millions in Earned Income Tax Credit refunds

The City of Detroit kicks off annual campaign to help Detroiters receive millions in Earned Income Tax Credit refunds

  • Last year’s campaign helped eligible Detroiters receive more than $297M in tax refunds
  • Hundreds of volunteers to staff free tax preparation and Drop & Go locations
  • Full information available at


For the third consecutive year, the City of Detroit is working to reach more working Detroiters who claim their Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and increase the size of their tax refund.  

City of Detroit officials, joined by Accounting Aid Society, Bloomberg Associates, United Way for Southeastern Michigan and Wayne Metro, kicked off their 2019 campaign at Focus: HOPE, urging residents to claim their credit. Focus: HOPE is one of a number of free tax preparation sites in the city.

Since the annual campaign began in 2017, Detroiters have claimed an average of $63 million more each year than they had in previous years. That’s because an average of 13,500 more Detroit residents each year have claimed their EITC annually since in 2016.  Prior to the City’s annual push, EITC-eligible Detroiters were leaving an estimated $80 million of potential tax refunds unclaimed each year. 

“The Earned Income Tax Credit is the one tax break available to working residents and residents of low to moderate income, and we don’t want any eligible Detroiter missing out on it,” said Mayor Duggan. “In some cases, these individuals can receive more in their tax return than they actually paid in taxes.”

Who is eligible to claim the EITC
The EITC is available to working families and individuals who meet certain income requirements. The amount of the refund depends on income, filing status and number of qualifying children claimed on their returns.  

For example, a single individual age 25-64 with no children who works a part-time, minimum wage job and earned less than $8,500 could get back as much as $519. A married couple with three or more children who file a joint return, with a combined income of less than 54,884 could receive the maximum EITC of $6,431.

Here are some of the resources being made available as part of the EITC campaign:

  • Accounting Aid Society and Wayne Metro training more than 500 individuals to staff 14 free tax preparation sites
  • Ten virtual tax preparation intake sites (also called Drop and Go sites), where residents can drop off their tax information and have their tax returns prepared
  • United Way of Southeastern Michigan managing EITC inquiries and setting up appointments for free tax preparation through its 211 service
  • 25 billboards posted across Detroit, provided by OUTFRONT Media at no cost to the City
  • 500 ads on DDOT buses

Each of the City’s partners is enthusiastic about the work they do to help Detroit residents.

“Our tax preparation volunteers tell us this is the most meaningful work they do,” said Kathleen Hatke Aro, President of Accounting Aid Society. “The EITC is the single most important tax benefit for working people and their families, who may get money back even if they do not owe any tax. This initiative transforms lives by financially empowering Detroiters.“

"At Wayne Metro we recognize that tax time can be a stressful time for people, and free tax services help to relieve families of the cost burden," said Wayne Metro CEO Louis D. Piszker. "Our staff is trained to help significantly increase the amount of the return a family will receive. At that moment we can start the financial coaching conversation, letting families know that by saving a portion of their refund they can achieve longer term financial security. That is a really empowering message."

“The EITC aligns with United Way’s mission of improving lives in measurable and lasting ways, as it places funds into the hands of those who need it most,” says Dr. Darienne Driver, President and CEO, United Way for Southeastern Michigan. “It is our commitment to the community to continue advocating and investing in initiatives that support working families and those in underserved communities.”
“Thanks to the Mayor’s leadership and the commitment of Detroit’s non-profit and corporate community, this campaign has put an extra $125 million in the hands of hard-working Detroiters over the last two years,” said Rose Gill Hearn, Principal at Bloomberg Associates, a philanthropic consultancy advising the City of Detroit. “The site of today’s press conference is a Drop and Go location, which allows the Accounting Aid Society to expand its free tax services to Detroiters throughout the city.”
The City’s also acknowledged OUTFRONT Media and Quicken Loans for their contribution and support of the initiative.


How to apply
Detroiters looking for more information on how to take advantage of the EITC can visit or call 211. To receive the credit, individuals must file a tax return, even if they don’t owe any taxes or are otherwise not required to file.

In addition, individuals are encouraged to file their own taxes for free by using simple online software.  Turbo Tax Free File is available to anyone with an income up to $34,000 or up to $66,000 for active military or anyone who qualifies for the Earned Income Tax Credit. The TurboTax Free File program includes your federal, state and local tax returns and can handle self-employed tax returns.

MyFreeTaxes in partnership with United Way is available to anyone with an income of less than$66,000. The program can handle almost any tax situation, but does not included local taxes. Individuals using MyFreeTaxes will need to file the City of Detroit tax return separately. For resources on how to file your City of Detroit income tax.

Individuals with income up to $55,000 qualify forfree, in-person tax preparation services at 14 locations listed below.  

Free Tax Preparation Sites
At these sites, individuals make appointments to meet with a volunteer to complete their tax return.

Central Area
Detroit Public Library (Main Branch), 5201 Woodward Avenue, Detroit 48202
Tuesdays & Wednesdays • 313-556-1920

Duffield Branch Library, 2507 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit 48208
Saturdays • 313-481-1712

Northend Financial Hub, 1550 Taylor St., Detroit 48206
Mondays - Fridays • 313-556-1920

Wayne Metro - Lakeshore Bldg., 7310 Woodward Ave., Detroit 48202
Wednesdays • 313-388-9799

East Side
Team Wellness, 6309 Mack Ave., Detroit 48207
Saturdays • 313-556-1920

Fisher Magnet Upper Academy, 15491 Maddelein St, Detroit 48205
Tuesdays - Saturdays • 313-556-1920

Detroit Public Library - Chandler Park, 12800 Harper, Detroit 48213
Thursdays • 313-388-9799

West Side
Adams Butzel Recreation Center, 10500 Lyndon Street, Detroit 48238 • 313-556-1920

Focus:HOPE, 1300 Oakman Blvd., Detroit 48238
Mondays - Fridays • 313-556-1920

Northwest Financial Hub, 7800 W. Outer Drive, Detroit 48235
Wednesdays - Saturdays • 313-556-1920

Southwest Financial Hub, 2826 Bagley, Detroit 48216
Tuesdays - Saturdays • 313-556-1920

University of Detroit-Mercy, 4001 W. McNichols, Detroit 48221
Saturdays • 313-556-1920

Northwest Activities Center, 18100 Meyers, Detroit 48235
Fridays • 313-388-9799

Detroit Public Library – Parkman, 1766 Oakman Blvd., Detroit 48238
Tuesdays • 313-388-9799.

Drop & Go Partners and Locations
At these locations, Individuals can leave their documentation and return to pick up the completed return.

  • Abayomi Community Development Corporation, 24331 W. Eight Mile, Detroit 48219
  • Coleman Young Recreation Center, 2751 Robert Bradby Dr., Detroit 48207
  • Focus: HOPE, 1200 Oakman Blvd., Detroit 48238
  • Goodwill Industries, 3111 Grand River, Detroit  48208
  • Matrix Human Services, 13560 E. McNichols, Detroit 48205
  • SER Metro (Samaritan Center), 5555 Conner, Detroit 48213
  • SER Metro, 5200 Stecker, Dearborn  48126
  • SER Metro (Northwest Activities Center), 18100 Meyers Road, Detroit 48235
  • Southwest Economic Solutions, 2835 Bagley - Suite 800, Detroit 48224
  • U-SNAP-BAC, 14901 E. Warren, Detroit 48224