Mayor urges Detroiters to claim Earned Income Tax Credit as City kicks off its annual campaign

Claim your Earned Income Tax Credit. Mayor and advisors stand at podium during press announcement.

www.claimyourrefund.com

  • Last year’s campaign helped Detroiters receive an average of $3,430 in tax refunds

  • Hundreds of volunteers to staff free tax preparation and Drop & Go locations

  • Full information available at www.claimyourrefund.com

 

The City of Detroit is working with a number of organizations to continue its annual push to encourage working Detroiters to claim their Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and increase the size of their tax refund.

Mayor Mike Duggan, joined by Accounting Aid Society, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency and Detroit at Work, kicked off the 2020 campaign at Durfee Innovation Society today and outlined efforts to urge residents to claim their credit.

As a result of the annual campaign, Detroiters have claimed $56 million more in EITC refunds each year on average. Prior to 2017, EITC-eligible Detroiters left an estimated $80 million of potential tax refunds unclaimed each year.

“For many working Detroiters, the Earned Income Tax Credit is their only income tax break, so we want to make sure everyone who is eligible takes advantage of it,” said Mayor Duggan. “Thanks to our great partners, millions of dollars that previously were unclaimed have flowed into the pockets of Detroiters since we started this campaign four years ago.”

 

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 with no children who works and makes less than $15,000 could get back as much as $529. A married couple with three or more children who file a joint return, with a combined income of less than $55,952 could receive the maximum EITC of $6,557.

 

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

  • Accounting Aid Society and Wayne Metro have trained more than 500 individuals to staff 21 free tax preparation sites
  • 9 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
  • 30 billboards posted across Detroit, provided by Outfront Media and Bloomberg Associates at no cost to the City
  • 288 ads on DDOT buses

 

The City’s partners are 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.”

“EITC has the power to change tax time from a burden into an opportunity. First, it’s a free service, so families aren’t paying fees out of pocket,” said Karen MacDonald, Executive Director of Community and Economic Development for Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency. “Second, our preparers are IRS-certified professionals who are well versed on tax code and credits which means low income families will receive the maximum benefit they are entitled to. The bigger the return, the greater the surplus of cash and opportunity to plan, save, and build financial security.”

“The Earned Income Tax Credit directly helps thousands of residents across the city. This program is proven and we are proud to partner with the City, Wayne Metro and the Accounting Aid Society,” says Tonya Adair, Chief Impact Officer for United Way for Southeastern Michigan. “The thousands of dollars families receive on average help them create a more stable financial foundation where children can thrive in our community. We are committed to continuing our referral efforts, via 2-1-1, as well as funding for free tax prep services to ensure more eligible residents have opportunities to recoup more of what they earn.”

The City also acknowledged Detroit at Work for its contribution and support of the initiative.

 

How to apply
Detroiters looking for more information on how to take advantage of the EITC can visit www.claimyourrefund.com 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 $36,000 or up to $69,000 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.

United Way’s MyFreeTaxes program is available for free to anyone at any income as long as the return is simple (no self-employment, investment income or capital gains).

The MyFreeTaxes program does not include local taxes. Individuals using MyFreeTaxes will need to file the City of Detroit tax return separately. Resources and information are available on how to file your City of Detroit income tax.

Individuals with income up to $56,000 qualify for free, in-person tax preparation services at the locations listed below.

 

Free Tax Preparation Sites
At these sites, individuals make appointments to meet with a volunteer to complete their tax return. To find your Free Tax Preparation Site, call 211 or check out the City's press release, which includes a full list of locations.