- Residents filed 24% more EITC returns in 2016 compared to 2015
- Taxpayers still have time to file their 2016 tax return and claim their EITC refund
A stepped up public awareness campaign this year to urge eligible Detroit taxpayers to claim their earned income tax credit (EITC) has resulted in $74 million more in state and federal tax refunds going directly into the pockets of Detroit residents, City officials announced today.
In January the city announced a robust strategy to reach more eligible Detroiters and get them to claim the EITC. Historically, an estimated 26,000 Detroit households that are eligible for the EITC have not applied, leaving upwards of $80 million dollars unclaimed.
City officials said that due in large part to an expanded public outreach effort, 18,150 more Detroit residents claimed the EITC on their 2016 Tax returns compared to 2015. While not an exact calculation, $74 million distributed among 18,000 Detroit residents suggests each recipient would have received – on average – an additional $4,000 in their combined state and federal tax return this year compared to last year.
“For hard-working families and individuals or family to receive an additional $4,000 or more in their tax return means so much,” said Lisa Howze, Detroit’s Director of Legislative Affairs, who also led the campaign. “And it’s not just a one-time deal. They can claim this credit every year they qualify. ”
To accomplish this, the City of Detroit and its partners – including Accounting Aid Society, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, Cities for Financial Empowerment, Bloomberg Associates and Community Economic Development Association of Michigan – teamed up on a campaign that included:
- 12 free tax preparation sites opened across the city
- 9 virtual tax preparation intake sites, where residents could drop off their tax information to be prepared for them
- Additional 2-1-1 specialists hired and trained to triage and manage EITC inquiries, resulting in more than 1,000 booked appointments
- More than 500 volunteers trained to assist with free tax preparation
- Increased earned media and social media outreach
- 30 billboards posted across Detroit, provided by OUTFRONT Media at no cost to the city
“We are grateful for the Mayor’s leadership on the EITC initiative,” said Kathleen Aro, President of the Accounting Aid Society. “The EITC is an important credit for working Detroiters and their families, but to get it, you must file a tax return and claim it. The EITC helps build financial security for residents and a stronger economy for Detroit’s future.”
Below is a comparison of Detroit tax filers who claimed the EITC in the past two years according to the Michigan state Treasury department:
Tax Year 2015
- 74,253 state EITC returns
- $13.7M in state Earned Income Credit (EIC) refunds
- $227.5M in federal EIC refunds (Recomputed based on 6% state matching credit)
Tax Year 2016
- 92,403 state EITC returns
- $17.8M in state EIC refunds
- $297.4M in federal EIC refunds (Recomputed based on 6% state matching credit)
“I applaud the efforts of the city to reach households who have not taken advantage of this important tax credit,” State Treasurer Nick Khouri said. “This puts extra income in the pockets of Detroit residents most in need. My department stands ready to help any government or nonprofit organization interested in copying the Detroit model.”
Tax Credit still available
Howze stressed that Detroiters who did not file their federal tax returns before April 18th, may still claim the EITC. Accounting Aid Society provides free tax assistance throughout this summer to serve Detroiters who haven’t yet claimed their EITC or other valuable credits.
Free tax preparation sites are still available. Call to make an appointment with Accounting Aid Society or United Way dial 313.556.1920 or 2-1-1.
- Oakland Financial Hub | 1956 Hilton Road, Ferndale, Zip Code: 48220
- Northwest Financial Hub | 7800 West Outer Drive, Detroit, Zip Code: 48234
- Southwest Financial Hub | 2826 Bagley Street, Detroit, Zip Code: 48216
- Osborn Financial Hub | 4777 East Outer Drive, Detroit, Zip Code: 48234
The EITC is available to working families and individuals who meet certain income requirements. The amount of the EITC depends on income, filing status and number of qualifying children claimed as dependents on the taxpayer’s tax return. To receive the credit, you must file a tax return, even if you do not owe any tax or are otherwise not required to file.
A single individual with no children who works a part-time job at minimum wage and/or earned less than $9,000 in 2016, could get back as much as $500. A family consisting of a married couple with three or more children who files a joint return, with combined income of $23,750, would receive the maximum EITC of $6,269.
“In Michigan, where one in six people live below the poverty line and Southeastern Michigan has the highest concentration of poverty among large metropolitan areas in the country, we were eager to support this city-wide effort via our 2-1-1 resource center,” said Herman Gray, president and CEO, United Way for Southeastern Michigan. “The benefits of the EITC are far reaching, and we are pleased that the Mayor placed this issue front and center so that more families could benefit and keep more of what they earn.”