JACKSON, Mich., Feb. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers Energy is helping Michigan residents stay warm this winter, offering a reminder that help with heating bills may be available through the Michigan Home Heating Credit and federal Earned Income Credit.
"We want to help Michigan residents manage their winter heating bills, and the Home Heating Credit is just one example of that," said Garrick Rochow, Consumers Energy's vice president of customer operations and quality. "Tax season is an ideal time to apply for this credit since free preparation assistance is available for income-qualified households throughout much of the state."
The Home Heating Credit can be used for all types of primary heating fuel, including natural gas, propane and purchased firewood. Renters may also qualify.
If households do not make enough money to file income taxes, they can still apply for the credit. Even so, each year a significant share of home heating credits go unclaimed by income-eligible households. The filing deadline is Sept. 30, 2015.
The credit amount is based on household income and size. Last year's average credit for Consumers Energy customers was $140.
Home Heating Credit forms (MI-1040CR-7) are available through the following:
- Online at www.michigan.gov/taxes
- Most public libraries
- Secretary of State branch offices
- Department of Human Services branch offices
- Consumers Energy's Assistance website: www.consumersenergy.com/assistance
By calling Consumers Energy toll-free at 800-477-5050, customer service representatives can provide last year's total heat cost, which is required to complete the form. This information can also be found on December, January, and February Consumers Energy billing statements.
The federal Earned Income Credit is another refundable federal income tax credit available to qualifying low-income taxpayers. It must be filed during tax season. For income guidelines, contact your employer, call the Internal Revenue Service at (800) 829-3676, or visit www.irs.gov.
The Michigan Department of Treasury can answer questions about both forms. Information is available by calling 517-636-4486.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has designated February as Keep Michigan Warm Month. Consumers Energy employees are taking part in more than 30 Walks for Warmth, most of them in February, to raise money for heating bill assistance that's provided through Michigan's Community Action Agencies.
Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.6 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
CALL FOR HELP: Direct questions about Home Heating Credit and Earned Income Credit forms to the Michigan Department of Treasury: 517-636-4486.
2-1-1: Call 2-1-1 to connect with a free tax site and learn about energy assistance programs in your community.
WALK FOR WARMTH: Do your part to help your neighbors stay warm by taking part in a Walk for Warmth. Learn more: www.ConsumersEnergy.com/walkforwarmth
For more information about Consumers Energy, go to www.ConsumersEnergy.com.
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SOURCE Consumers Energy