Free, Accessible Tax Assistance Available Online and at Goodwill Agencies Nationwide
ROCKVILLE, Md., Jan. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Many American workers may qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a federal tax credit that can provide a crucial income boost benefiting individual workers with low to moderate incomes, their families and their communities. In recognition of EITC Awareness Day on January 25, Goodwill encourages people who earned less than $50,270 in 2012 to see if they qualify for the EITC. In doing so, they could receive as much as a $5,891 tax refund from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
As part of Goodwill's partnership with the IRS, approximately 80 Goodwill agencies nationwide are promoting the EITC in their communities and operating Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites to provide free tax preparation services to workers who qualify. During the 2012 tax filing season, approximately 89 local Goodwill agencies prepared 36,182 federal tax returns, helping more than 36,182 workers collectively receive $49,485,360 in refunds.
"Though the EITC is widely credited as the nation's largest anti-poverty program, according to the IRS, 20 percent of eligible workers fail to claim their credit each year — a credit that can make all the difference in helping families pay for utilities, food and rent every month," said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. "Goodwill's VITA sites provide the free services that working individuals, with or without children, need to claim the tax refund they deserve."
Building upon current VITA initiatives, Goodwill is also partnering with the National Disability Institute and United Way Worldwide to expand free federal and state tax preparation and filing assistance to qualified individuals. Funded by the Walmart Foundation, MyFreeTaxes.com is a free online option for self-filing taxes. Eligible individuals or families must have a combined income of $57,000 or less. To file at a VITA site, individuals or families must earn $50,000 or less. The MyFreeTaxes partnership has helped 4.5 million families claim nearly $6 billion in tax credits and refunds since 2009.
The EITC was enacted by Congress in 1975 to assist working families and individuals. The EITC's worth varies depending on family size and filing status, so it is essential that workers find out if they qualify, especially if their financial, marital and parental statuses have changed in the past year. Even if workers do not need to file federal tax returns based on salary, they must do so in order to claim the credit. People have used the EITC to pay for necessities such as rent, bills, home and vehicle repair, and maintenance. In some cases, the tax credit has been put toward large purchases such as a home or car and long-term investments such as savings, obtaining additional education or training, or retirement.
Goodwill's mission is to provide job training, and career and community-based services to people with disabilities, those who lack education or work experience and others who face challenges to finding employment. Goodwill aims to not only help people earn jobs, but also to encourage them to take advantage of the services and tax credits they've earned to improve their financial stability and better care for their families.
"By not filing for this credit, certain populations that qualify for the EITC are missing out on millions of dollars of tax credits each year. Goodwill aims to help ensure everyone who qualifies for the EITC applies for it to receive a valuable financial boost," said Gibbons. "Goodwill urges workers with low and moderate incomes, including those who come from rural or non-traditional families, to inquire about and claim this valuable tax credit, which is designed not only to encourage and reward work, but also to spur economic activity."
About Goodwill Industries International:
Goodwill Industries International is a network of 165 community-based, independent agencies in the United States and Canada with 14 affiliates in 13 other countries. Goodwill is one of the top 25 most inspiring companies (Forbes, 2012). Goodwill agencies are innovative and sustainable social enterprises that fund job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs by selling donated clothing and household items in more than 2,700 stores and online at www.shopgoodwill.com. Local Goodwill agencies also build revenue and create jobs by contracting with businesses and government to provide a wide range of commercial services, including packaging and assembly, food service preparation and document imaging and shredding. In 2011, more than 4.2 million people in the United States and Canada benefited from Goodwill's career services. Goodwill channels 82 percent of its revenues directly into its programs and services. To find your local Goodwill, use the online locator at www.goodwill.org or call (800) GOODWILL. Find us on Facebook: GoodwillIntl or follow us on Twitter: @GoodwillIntl
SOURCE Goodwill Industries International