Deputy Mayor Bettison, coalition launch campaign to help Detroiters claim millions in tax credits
- What could you do with $1500 or more?
- Detroiters received millions in tax credits through Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit last year
- Increase to Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit means more money for residents this year
- Hundreds of volunteers and staff will offer expert tax preparation at no cost to Detroiters
- All the information you need available at www.getthetaxfacts.org
Today, Deputy Mayor Todd Bettison and a coalition of community partners announced this year’s push to encourage all Detroiters to access every dollar of federal and state tax credits by scheduling an appointment for no-cost expert tax preparation. Through last year’s coordinated outreach in the City of Detroit, thousands of Detroit families were able to take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit, bringing millions into their homes. This year, even more money is available in state credits thanks to new legislation passed in 2023 which increased the Michigan EITC five-fold.
Deputy Mayor Bettison was joined by Accounting Aid Society, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency, and Community Development Advocates of Detroit as they kicked off the 2024 income tax season today and outlined efforts to urge residents to claim their credits.
“We want Detroit residents to know we’re here to help make sure they get all the money owed to them by encouraging everyone to file their tax returns,” said Deputy Mayor Todd Bettison. “It’s easy and free for most Detroiters, residents can call and make an appointment today, so they don’t leave money unclaimed.”
As a result of the coalition’s work in 2023, Detroiters claimed more than $330 million in EITC refunds alone for tax year 2022, plus many millions more in Child Tax Credits. Prior to 2017, EITC-eligible Detroiters left an estimated $80 million of potential tax refunds unclaimed each year.
There are several cash payments available to Detroit families, including the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, but you’ve got to file your taxes to claim these credits. Even if you don’t typically file your taxes or didn’t earn much in 2023, you may qualify for these payments.
Starting today, residents can call 2-1-1 or visit www.getthetaxfacts.org to learn more and schedule an appointment.
EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT (EITC) – Who is eligible?
The EITC is available to working families and individuals who meet certain income requirements. There are two EITC credits – a main credit when you file your federal tax return, and an additional credit when you file your state of Michigan tax return. This year, thanks to new state legislation, the Michigan credit is worth 5 times what it used to be. That means more money in Detroiters’ pockets.
If you worked at all in 2023, you may be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit. The EITC provides extra income to workers with low to moderate incomes, up to $64,000. The amount of the refund depends on income, filing status, and number of qualifying children claimed on tax returns. For example, a single individual with no children who works and makes less than $17,640 could get back as much as $780. A married couple with three or more children who files a joint return, with a combined income of less than $63,398 could receive the maximum EITC of $9,659 between the federal and state credits.
Adults and children must have a Social Security Number to apply for the EITC.
MICHIGAN EITC – EXTRA PAYMENTS FOR 2022 TAX YEAR
In addition to receiving a larger refund when filing taxes in 2024, many Detroiters will also receive an extra refund for the 2022 year thanks to legislation passed in 2023 (for taxes filed in 2023).
“I appreciate being part of getting Detroiters educated and ready for the tax season,” said State Rep. Stephanie A. Young (D-Detroit). “Democrats passed legislation to make sure working families and individuals can keep more of their hard-earned dollars. I proudly voted yes for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to benefit hundreds of thousands of Michiganders, ultimately uplifting more children out of poverty and bolstering the local economy. Today’s event is right on time to help families navigate the EITC and other tax benefits recently signed into law.”
The Michigan EITC uses the same eligibility criteria as the federal EITC. The amount of the Michigan credit is calculated as a percentage of the amount the family or individual receives from the federal EITC. Previously, the Michigan EITC was calculated as 6% of the federal EITC. For example, if a family qualified for a $3000 federal EITC refund, they received an additional $180 ($3000 x 6%) from the state of Michigan when filing their state taxes.
Under the new law, starting with taxes filed in 2023 (for tax year 2022), the Michigan credit was increased to 30% of the federal credit. In the same example, a family qualifying for a $3000 federal EITC refund will now receive an additional $900 ($3000 x 30%) from the state of Michigan.
Because the new legislation was passed during the 2023 tax filing season, Michigan EITC payments for taxes filed in 2023 (for tax year 2022) are a bit unusual.
If you filed taxes in 2023 for the 2022 tax year and qualified for the EITC, you already received the old 6% Michigan EITC. The state of Michigan will issue refunds in early 2024 for an additional 24% of the federal credit amount (the difference between the 6% credit already received and the 30% new credit).
These additional refunds will be delivered by paper check mailed to your address on file with the state Treasury. If you still live at the same address as listed on your 2022 tax return (filed in 2023), you do not need to take any action. Checks will be mailed starting February 13, 2024, and it may take as long as 5 to 6 weeks for the state Treasury to mail all of the checks.
If you have moved recently or are concerned that the state of Michigan may not have your correct address, you can update your address online at: https://www.michigan.gov/taxes/questions/iit/accordion/general/change-address
CHILD TAX CREDIT – Who is eligible?
The Child Tax Credit provides $1500-2000 per child for qualifying families.
- Children under age 17 living in your home.
- Earned at least $2500 from working in 2023.
- Children must have a valid Social Security Number (adults may have an ITIN).
- If you are the child’s primary caregiver, you are likely eligible. You don’t need to be the child’s biological parent to qualify.
EXPERT TAX PREP AVAILABLE AT NO COST:
All residents with income less than $64,000 qualify for an expert tax preparation appointment at no cost to them. For the 2024 tax season, Accounting Aid Society and Wayne Metro will offer primarily in-person tax prep services. Drop-and-go and all-virtual appointments will also still be available.
"Thanks to the recent decision by the state government, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) match has been increased to an incredible 30%! This means the hardworking families, who have been the backbone of our communities, will now benefit from significantly larger tax refunds and credits,” said Priscilla Perkins, President and CEO of Accounting Aid Society. “Our volunteer tax preparers and staff are ready to help tax filers obtain the EITC - a powerful tool designed to provide financial support to help families thrive."
SPREADING THE WORD:
This coalition is working to spread the word to those who are at the greatest risk of missing out, such as first-time parents who may not know they are eligible, non-traditional families where the biological parents are not the primary caregivers, families that don’t make much money and don’t normally file taxes, and families with limited English, limited education, and limited connections to social services.
We are working with community-based organizations to meet families where they are with in-person outreach at community events, flyers at community locations, direct outreach to neighborhood residents, and more. These efforts receive additional funding and support through the generosity of funding partners including Kresge Foundation and Ballmer Group.
The most important thing to know is that most Detroiters are eligible for expert tax preparation at no-cost, thanks to the help of hundreds of staff and volunteers from Accounting Aid Society and Wayne Metro. These IRS-certified non-profit partners specialize in helping low- and moderate-income individuals claim the credits they are entitled to. They have a higher accuracy rate than most for-profit tax filing companies.
“Our goal is to help families get the most out of their tax returns and put that money back into the household budget,” said Louis D. Piszker, Wayne Metro Chief Executive Officer. “It’s important to work with a certified preparer to maximize tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, home heating credit, and dependent care. During your tax appointment, we can also talk about your property taxes, water, and energy assistance, along with financial counseling, debt reduction, and credit repair.”
Through its extensive network of community resources, United Way will again lead this coalition - making sure Detroiters are connected to the help they need.
“As inflation continues to squeeze household budgets, the expanded Michigan EITC, federal EITC, and Child Tax Credit provide a much-needed financial boost to help families pay for basic essentials and get caught up on overdue bills. These tax credits can also serve as a springboard to economic mobility, helping to fund a car purchase or equipment for a small business,” said Jeff Miles, Vice President for Community Impact at United Way for Southeastern Michigan. "Along with our partners at the city, Accounting Aid Society, Wayne Metro, and others, we are working to help everyone access the maximum refund they are owed.”
Thousands of Detroiters have scheduled their appointments for tax help by calling 2-1-1 or going online at GetTheTaxFacts.org – you can too!