HOLLYWOOD, Fla., Jan. 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Working families who made $53,000 or less in 2014, persons with disabilities, veterans, the elderly and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns can have their taxes prepared for FREE starting January 20, 2015 throughout Broward County. The service also is available to individuals without children. This 40+ year old federal program, created by Hispanic Unity of Florida, is called Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and has strong bipartisan support in Congress.
Working families are encouraged to call 2-1-1 NOW or visit www.vitataxesfree.org to find the closest VITA Tax Site. 211 provides assistance in multiple languages, including English, Spanish, French and Haitian-Creole.
The VITA program is an excellent opportunity for individuals and families to keep more of their money and save on tax preparation fees. This service is provided by trained IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers who will--in addition to preparing taxes for free--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 assist tax payers in maximizing their returns refunds.
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.
"According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Florida had more than 2 million individuals and the average rebate in 2013 was $2,450," said Josie Bacallao, President & CEO of Hispanic Unity of Florida, the largest provider of these services in Broward County.
In the 2014 tax season, more than 5,200 Broward County taxpaying working families and individuals took advantage of the VITA program and had their income taxes prepared by trained VITA volunteers. More than $5.6 million in taxes were refunded to working families. Nearly 40% of the individuals assisted last year qualified for additional tax credits, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). 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 2015 tax season.
IRS: 2015 EITC Income Limits and Maximum Credit Amounts*
- Earned Income and adjusted gross income (AGI) must each be less than:
- $47,747 ($53,267 married filing jointly) with three or more qualifying children
- $44,454 ($49,974 married filing jointly) with two qualifying children
- $39,131 ($44,651 married filing jointly) with one qualifying child
- $14,820 ($20,330 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children
EITC maximum credit:
- $6,242 with three or more qualifying children
- $5,548 with two qualifying children
- $3,359 with one qualifying child
- $503 with no qualifying children
Individuals do NOT have to wait to January to determine if they are EITC eligible. They can visit the easy to use IRS site at: Do I qualify for EITC?
In 2015, the services will be provided throughout Broward County at more than 15 permanent tax sites at local nonprofit locations as well as 20+ mobile tax sites. And, trained IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers will assist individuals in English, Spanish, French, Haitian-Creole, Portuguese and sign-language at designated tax sites.
In Broward County VITA/EITC services are provided through a community-wide, initiative made possible through funding and leadership from the Children's Services Council of Broward County (CSC), an independent taxing authority established to enhance the lives of Broward County's children, the United Way of Broward County and the IRS.
Other key partners and funders include HandsOn Broward, 211 Broward, Hispanic Unity of Florida, Broward County's Family Success Administration, Bank of America, Nova Southeastern University, Community Access Center and Broward College.
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, 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 32 years ago by community leaders to ease the acculturation transition for newcomers from other nations. Today this nonprofit provides assistance through 19 programs, in three 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 2013, the agency served 20,000+ clients, from toddlers to adults. The agency offers assistance at eight Broward County sites in addition to 15 FREE Tax Preparation sites and 11 Citizenship Preparation sites.
Its mission is: Empowering Hispanics and other members of the community to become self-sufficient civically engaged and to lead productive lives. For more information visit: www.hispanicunity.org or call 954-964-8884 ext. 216. Follow us on Twitter @HispanicUnity as well as on our blog, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.
Information about the IRS's Volunteers in Tax Assistance (VITA) program can be found here.
Information on EITC eligibility can be found here.
Gabriel De Los Reyes
Latin2Latin Marketing + Communications, LLC
954-376-4800 (Main Line)
754-701-3311 (Direct Line)
SOURCE Hispanic Unity of Florida (HUF)