HOLLYWOOD, Fla., Feb. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Individuals without children and working families who earned $54,000 or less in 2015, could save up to $150 with free tax preparation services. The 40+ year old federal Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which has received strong bipartisan support in Congress, has brought more than $51 million back in refunds to Broward County since 2004. These free tax service is also available for persons with disabilities, veterans, the elderly and limited English speaking taxpayers.
"The Children's Services Council of Broward County has been a major supporter of the VITA campaign for over 12 years because we understand that reimbursements going directly into the pockets of Broward County families that need them most can make an enormous difference in the lives of children," said CSC President/CEO Cindy Arenberg Seltzer.
This year, services will be provided at 14 permanent tax sites at local nonprofits and at 20+ mobile tax sites at partner locations throughout Broward. Trained IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers will assist individuals in English, Spanish, French, Haitian-Creole, Portuguese and American Sign-Language at designated tax sites. Tax preparers will also determine an individual's eligibility for special tax credits such as Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly and education credits to maximize tax payer returns.
"During the 2015 tax season, $5.7 million in taxes were refunded to Broward County working families and individuals and more than 5,400 people were served across 15 site locations," said Josie Bacallao, President/CEO of Hispanic Unity of Florida, the largest provider of these services in Broward County.
Working families and individuals are encouraged to call 2-1-1 or 954-537-0211 or visit www.VITATaxesFree.org to find the nearest VITA tax site.
Electronic filing assures a quick return on their tax claims.
The federal EITC for taxpaying low-to-moderate-income working people reduces the amount of taxes owed and refunds the difference if the credit is larger than the amount owed. The credit changes from year to year and is based on earnings, number of qualifying children and marital status.
Individuals who have not taken advantage of EITC in the past may be eligible for the credit for up to three years retroactively. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), below are the EITC income requirements for the 2016 tax season.
IRS: 2016 EITC Income Limits and Maximum Credit Amounts*
Earned Income and adjusted gross income (AGI) must each be less than:
$47,955 ($53,505 married filing jointly) with three or more qualifying children
$44,648 ($50,198 married filing jointly) with two qualifying children
$39,296 ($44,846 married filing jointly) with one qualifying child
$14,880 ($20,430 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children
EITC maximum credit:
- $6,269 with three or more qualifying children
- $5,572 with two qualifying children
- $3,373 with one qualifying child
- $506 with no qualifying children
Individuals can visit the IRS site to see if they are eligible: Do I qualify for EITC?
The Broward community-wide initiative is made possible by the Children's Services Council of Broward County (CSC), an independent taxing authority established to enhance the lives of Broward County's children, the IRS, Hispanic Unity of Florida and United Way of Broward County.
Other key partners and funders include: 211 Broward, Bank of America, Baptist Health South Florida, Broward College, Broward County's Family Success Administration, Broward County Libraries, Community Access Center, DeVry University, HandsOn Broward, Nova Southeastern University, Sheridan Technical College, SunTrust Bank and Third Federal Savings & Loan.
About the Children's Services Council:
The Children's Services Council of Broward County is an independent taxing authority which was established by a public referendum on September 5, 2000 and was reauthorized by voters on November 4, 2014, which, through Public Act, Chapter 2000-461 of the laws of Florida, authorized the Council to levy up to 0.5 mills of property taxes. The role of the Council is to provide the leadership, advocacy and resources necessary to enhance children's lives and empower them to become responsible, productive adults through collaborative planning and funding of a continuum of quality care.
For more information about the Children's Services Council of Broward County, please visit www.cscbroward.org. Follow us on Twitter at @CSCBroward and on Facebook.
About United Way of Broward County:
United Way of Broward County is a volunteer driven, community-based, non-profit organization servicing Broward County for more than 75 years. United Way of Broward County's mission is to focus and unite the entire community to create significant lasting change in the impact areas of Education, Income and Health, the building blocks for a better life, which positively impacts people's lives. United Way of Broward County is the catalyst for change and convener of partnerships that unite the hearts, minds, and resources within the Broward community. For more information, visit www.UnitedWayBroward.org
About Hispanic Unity of Florida (HUF):
Hispanic Unity was founded more than 34 years ago by community leaders to ease the acculturation transition for newcomers from other nations. Today this nonprofit provides assistance through 12 programs and 30+ services, in four languages, to Broward's diverse community. Hispanic Unity remains the county's largest agency dedicated to the immigrant population, providing them with the tools they need to build a new life. In 2015, the agency served 17,000+ clients, from toddlers to adults. The agency offers assistance at eight Broward County sites in addition to 15 FREE Tax Preparation sites and 9 Citizenship Preparation sites.
Hispanic Unity was recently recognized by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, for its outstanding service and dedication to families living in South Florida.
HUF's Mission is:
Empowering immigrants and others to become self-sufficient, productive and civically engaged.
For more information visit: www.hispanicunity.org or call 954-964-8884, ext. 216
Information about the IRS's Volunteers in Tax Assistance (VITA) program can be found here.
Information on EITC eligibility can be found here.
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SOURCE Hispanic Unity of Florida (HUF)