Wednesday February 1, 2006
EITC Program Returns Millions to Local Families
Mayor Jerry Abramson announced today that the city and the Louisville Asset Building
Coalition (LABC) will once again offer free tax preparation assistance to residents who might qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Local families utilizing the city’s services have received more than $12 million in refunds since 2001 – $5.5 million of that total is a direct result of increased EITC deductions.
“In the past, millions of dollars in tax refunds have been left on the table,” said Abramson. “These overpaid federal income taxes can and should be returned to our residents and reinvested in our community.”
The Brookings Institution completed a study before merger illustrating areas where Louisville’s new government could improve. The study showed residents lose $26 million in federal income tax refunds because they do not apply for the EITC deduction. A family of four in Louisville with an income of about $37,000 is eligible for a $4,400 tax credit. The city’s partners in this project include the LABC, Metro United Way and Greater Louisville Inc. (GLI).
“Clearly, our community benefits when we increase self-sufficiency of working individuals and families who are struggling to make ends meet,” said Joe Tolan, president of Metro United Way. This is the first year the local chamber of commerce has been involved with the program. GLI is working with local businesses to educate owners about EITC and encourage them to inform their employees about the deduction. “If a business has workers who fit in to this tax bracket, applying for EITC is like giving an employee a raise of several thousand dollars,” said Joe Reagan, president and CEO of Greater Louisville Inc. – the Louisville Metro Chamber of Commerce. “This money is then returned to the community and spent at local businesses.”
“We are excited about the new partnership,” said Eric Seto, director of the LABC. “This will be the first time we can effectively reach everyone in Louisville through government, community and the business sector.”
The city is also offering its mobile tax unit to businesses for on-site tax preparation assistance for employees. Norton Hospital, CitiCards and Churchill Downs have signed up for the program. “These refunds are important to our residents because they are the difference between accumulating debt or starting a savings account - purchasing a car or saving for a down payment on a home,” said Abramson.
The city offers free tax preparation services at 12 sites (pdf)
, and the mobile tax preparation bus is available at four locations every Saturday in February. For a complete listing of times, dates and locations call MetroCall at 311 or visit www.louisvilleky.gov. The city and the LABC have provided free tax assistance to more than 8,000 residents since 2001. Organizers hope this year’s campaign will net $4 million in EITC refunds alone. The Louisville Asset Building Coalition is a coordinated group of outreach agencies committed to helping residents build wealth.