NEW ORLEANS, LA–Today, Mayor Landrieu and the Asset Building Coalition of Southeast Louisiana (ABC-SELA) urged families with low or moderate incomes to keep more of what they earned by applying for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Mayor Landrieu and ABC-SELA kicked off today’s national EITC Awareness Day by encouraging eligible working families to use free services available for preparing their federal and state tax returns.
The EITC is a refundable federal tax credit for eligible working families that could provide up to $5,891 extra in federal income tax refunds for individuals who earn $51,000 or less annually. According to the Internal Revenue Service, millions of workers overlook this credit because they don't know about it, or don’t know how to claim it.
"There are many hard-working people in our community who could put more money in their pockets by claiming this tax credit that they are entitled to,” Mayor Landrieu said. “EITC is a financial boost for working families in a recovering economy and allows more funds to flow within our community.”
Last year, the credit returned $1.38 billion dollars to 527,000 workers in Louisiana; the average credit was $2,615.
"This money can make a real difference to workers struggling in this recovering economy," said Odessa Adams-Payne, Director of Financial Stability at United Way of Southeast Louisiana. An estimated four out of five eligible workers currently claim their EITC. "We want to raise that to five out of five,” Adams-Payne said. "They earned it. Now they need to file, claim it and get it."
Mayor Landrieu also is urging employers to inform their workers about the underutilized tax credit. In partnership with ABC-SELA, the Mayor is supporting EITC awareness by offering free tax preparation assistance and financial education though the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.
A Super Tax Day kick-off event will be held Saturday, January 26 from 9 am to 3 pm at Total Community Action, 1420 South Jeff Davis Parkway. IRS certified volunteers will assist qualified residents in filing returns.
Residents who are seeking free tax assistance should bring:
Social Security Cards (for you, your spouse & dependents)
Birth dates (for you, your spouse & dependents)
Wage & Earning Forms (all W-2, W-2G, 1099-R Forms)
Interest & Dividend Forms (Forms 1099)
Total Paid for Day Care (provider's name and tax ID, if applicable)
Bank Routing & Account Numbers (for direct deposit of refund; voided check or bank statement will suffice)
Spouse (if married and filing a joint tax return, your spouse must be present)
For qualified residents who are unable to attend the kick-off event, free assistance will be provided from January 22 to April 15 at 15 VITA sites located across Orleans Parish. Residents can locate a VITA site can be found at www.unitedwaysela.org/eitc or by calling 2-1-1. Residents can also take advantage of MyFreeTaxes.com, which provides free online federal and state tax preparation for qualified individuals. Consumers can file online at www.myfreetaxes.com/UnitedWaySoutheastLouisiana (for individuals or families with combined incomes of $57,000 or less).
Taxpayers can learn more information about EITC and VITA sites HERE.
About the Asset Building Coalition of Southeast Louisiana (ABC-SELA)
The partners of the Asset Building Coalition of Southeast Louisiana (ABC-SELA) provide free tax preparation for eligible taxpayers through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and education and outreach to share information about how to claim the earned income tax credit and where to get free tax preparation assistance. The following organizations are members of the ABC-SELA: 4U, AIM-IRS, Catholic Charities, Central City Renaissance Alliance, Dillard University, Lafourche Community Concerned Citizens, Loyola University New Orleans, Marrero Multi-Purpose Center, Neighborhood Housing Services, Our Lady of Holy Cross, Southern University at New Orleans, Total Community Action, Tulane University, Delgado, Single Stop, Vietnamese Initiatives in Economic Training, Word of Truth Fellowship and Xavier University.