Press Release
Area Residents Encouraged to Utilize Free Tax Assistance and Receive Federal Tax Credits
EITC Campaign Has Helped Bring $93+ Million into Three-County Area

Dayton, OH, January 29, 2008 - Don't leave money on the table that could be helping you and your family ... and don't sacrifice your hard-earned money for a short-lived loan. Those are the messages that community leaders representing the Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition want to impart to hard-working families this tax season.

Dayton City Commissioner Dean Lovelace and United Way of the Greater Dayton Area President Marc Levy were joined by representatives of local financial institutions, nonprofit agencies, and the IRS today to announce details of this year's Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) campaign. The EITC is now worth more money than ever before - up to $4,716 for eligible families. In addition, many EITC-eligible families also qualify for the Child Tax Credit, worth up to $1,000 for each child under age 17.

The local coalition is promoting the Earned Income Tax Credit to low-income working families and individuals as an effective tool to increase their financial stability. The goal of the campaign is to provide free tax assistance to help working families take advantage of federal tax credits when they file their income tax returns and avoid the dangers of quick loan offers that prey on low-income workers and carry hidden costs.

The local outreach effort began in 2002 with four coalition-sponsored volunteer tax sites and has grown to twelve sites in 2008. In 2006 (the most recent IRS data available), 50,593 households in Montgomery, Greene and Preble Counties received a total of $93,445,063 in EITC returns, an average of $1,847 per household. In Montgomery County alone, EITC returns increased 63% from $46 million in 1999 to $75 million in 2005.

More than 50 IRS-trained and certified volunteers will prepare and file taxes at the coalition's 12 free community tax sites throughout tax season this year. Last year, 2,250 families and individuals had their taxes prepared at the coalition's sites. The goal this year is to increase that number to 2,750, encouraging an additional 500 people to avoid the predatory lending tax sites.

"Based on the average EITC return, an additional one million dollars could be returned to the pockets of hard-working families and boost the local economy," Levy said. "This extra income helps many families pay their bills, purchase such things as furniture or appliances, pay for job-related expenses, and provide a better life for their children."

"The EITC and Child Tax Credit have taken on added importance during times of high unemployment," Levy said. "Families and individuals that have lost income badly need the boost these tax credits provide. The additional dollars can provide relief for families under severe economic stress, enabling them to pay back bills, avert utility shut-offs, eviction or foreclosure, buy groceries and cover childcare, automobile and other household expenses."

Commissioner Lovelace urged residents to be wary of companies offering to pay tax refunds without W-2 forms, know as "pay stub" loans, or other deals that offer money to the customer upfront in return for a large return payment to the lender later on. "The Coalition once again is urging local taxpayers to avoid high-cost 'instant cash' tax refund loans and 'pay stub' loans. These are very high-interest, short-term (7-14 day) loans that are a waste of your hard-earned money," he said.

"Pay stub" loan offers and other "instant cash" loans are heavily marketed to low-income working families claiming the EITC, and nationally drain almost $1 billion from the EITC refunds earned by these families each year. According to IRS data, 56% of Refund Anticipation Loan (RAL) borrowers in 2004 were low and moderate-income taxpayers receiving the EITC, despite the fact that EITC recipients make up only 17% of the nation's taxpayers. Nationally, one out of three EITC recipients bought a RAL in 2004. These families spend over $900 million in RAL fees to get their tax refund monies 1-2 weeks sooner than they would receive it by filing electronically and having their refund directly deposited into their band or credit union account.

"With the tax filing season now upon us, the Earned Income Tax Credit is an excellent way for lower wage-earners to save money on their federal tax returns," Lovelace said. "It is very important that eligible Dayton Area residents apply for the EITC and the Child Care Tax credit when they file their taxes this year. It's easy to receive the tax credits, and there are several local community organizations that will provide IRS-trained and certified volunteers who will prepare and file your tax returns at no cost."

Commissioner Lovelace also thanked the volunteer tax preparers and tax site managers for providing this valuable community service to local working families each year. "The volunteers spend many hours becoming trained and certified. Their generous service is critical to the success of our outreach effort," he said.

The coalition's free tax preparation sites are open through April 15. Hours of operation include a variety of daytime, evening and Saturday hours. Interested taxpayers should phone their preferred site or United Way's HelpLink 2-1-1 EITC Hotline at 913-2000 for further information or to schedule an appointment.

Super Saturday Event

The KeyBank Super Refund Saturday will be held on February 2nd from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Montgomery County Job Center. Volunteer tax preparers from KeyBank and other coalition member organizations will be preparing and electronically filing returns for EITC-eligible taxpayers. The event will feature food and t-shirts along with asset building information such as the America Saves Program. Activities will be provided for the children who accompany their parents to the event. No appointment is necessary.

Free Tax Preparation Sites
The free volunteer tax assistance sites sponsored by the EITC Coalition this year are:
  • Community Action Partnership, 719 S. Main Street, Dayton, 341-5000
  • Community Action Partnership, 716 E. Main Street, Trotwood, 341-5000
  • Dayton Christian Center @ Linden Ave. Baptist Church, 101 Linden Ave., 275-7174
  • Dayton Northwest Weed & Seed, 1352 W. Riverview Ave., 276-9860
  • Dayton Urban League, 907 W. Fifth Street, 220-6650
  • Dayton Urban Ministry Center, 3665 Otterbein Ave., 278-1167
  • East End Community Services, 624 Xenia Ave. 45410, 259-1898
  • Ellison Senior Center, 2412 W. Third St., 333-6606
  • Goodwill Easter Seals, 1511 Kuntz Rd., 461-4800
  • The Job Center, 1111 Edwin C. Moses Blvd., 333-2700
  • Sinclair Community College, 444 W. Third Street, 512-3964
  • Wesley Center, 3730 Delphos Ave., 263-3556
Members of the Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition include the City of Dayton, United Way of the Greater Dayton Area, IRS, the Community Action Partnership, Chase Bank, Children's Defense Fund Ohio, Community Reinvestment Act Alumni Association, Dayton Christian Center, Dayton Northwest Weed & Seed, Dayton Power & Light Foundation, Dayton Urban League, Dayton Urban Ministry Center, East End Community Services, Ellison Senior Center, Fifth-Third Bank, Goodwill/Easter Seals, the Homeownership Center of Greater Dayton, Huntington Bank, the Job Center, KeyBank, Montgomery County, National City Bank, the Ombudsman's Office, OSU Extension Service, Premier Health Partners, Project READ, Sinclair Community College, University of Dayton, Wesley Center, and Wright Patt Credit Union.

The EITC is a federal tax benefit designed to help low-income workers increase their financial stability. It has several important purposes: to reduce payroll taxes for these workers, to supplement wages, and to make work more attractive than welfare. It is the nation's largest anti-poverty program, and it helps working families maintain their independence from the welfare system.

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