Congressman John Carney was joined by the Rev. Clifford Johnson of Nehemiah Gateway Community Development Corporation, Bernice Edwards of First State Community Action Agency, Wanda Lopez of United Way of Delaware, Rashmi Rangan of Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council, and Glenn Rollins of the Internal Revenue Service at a press conference in Georgetown to help launch the 12th annual Earned Income Tax Credit campaign and urge Delawareans to participate.
The campaign educates citizens about the EITC, prepares taxes for those who qualify and encourages sound financial management and savings. The Earned Income Tax Credit is available to employed individuals and families meeting certain income and other qualifying criteria. For example, the Earned Income Tax Credit benefits families who earn less than $51,567 (with three or more children and filing a joint return) per year. The maximum tax credit that citizens can receive could be as much as $6,044 depending on family size and income.
“The Earned Income Tax Credit helps working families keep more of what they earn, and brings millions of dollars back to Delaware’s economy. Yet, every year, close to 20 percent of eligible Delawareans do not file for it,” said Carney. “The Delaware EITC Campaign reaches out to Delaware residents, helps them file their taxes, and teaches them how to best put that money to use. I’m hopeful that every eligible Delawarean takes advantage of this opportunity."
The EITC campaign in Delaware is coordinated by the Nehemiah Gateway Community Development Corporation. The program offers free tax services to citizens through a partnership of the Nehemiah Gateway CDC, First State Community Action Agency and the Delaware Alliance for Community Advancement, with support from financial institutions, foundations, and United Way of Delaware.
According to Johnson, president of NGCDC, the EITC increases the ability of workers in lower-paying job categories to support themselves and their families. He said research shows that helping a person reap additional tax benefits based on the amount they earn has increased the labor force participation of lower skilled workers, especially single mothers.
“The EITC Campaign has given us the opportunity to take our services directly to Delawareans through our mobile tax sites. First State goes into low-income communities to provide this valuable service in accessible locations,” said Edwards, executive director of FSCAA. “Last year, we helped more than 1,400 individuals and families prepare and file their taxes at no cost to them, and we expect to reach even more people this year."
In tax year 2012, EITC returned over $155 million dollars of federal money to eligible Delawareans at an average of $2,150 per return. Research shows that most often families use their EITC refunds directly in the local community to put food on the table, pay their mortgage or rent, or make needed repairs to their home or car.
For clients who prefer to prepare their own returns, there is now a free software program available at www.MyFreeTaxesDE.com. Delawareans with a household income of $58,000 or less in 2013 are eligible to use this site, which offers free tax filing for state and federal taxes, as well as a free telephone helpline that can be reached by calling Delaware 2-1-1 or 1-855-MY-TX-HELP.