United Way’s local Earned Income Tax Credit Alliance (EITCA) has released statistical information related to its work in helping people prepare and file their taxes this year.
Working with a dedicated team of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) workers, the Alliance focuses on making sure qualified people use the Earned Income Tax Credit in their returns. This credit has the ability to greatly increase tax refunds for low-or-moderate income families and individuals.
Tax returns prepared at a EITCA / VITA site are provided free of charge. Not applying a fee helps people keep more of their own money, and provides an alternative to the illegal predatory lending practices of some less-than-trustworthy tax preparation sites in our region.
EITCA reports it helped prepare 6,610 returns, resulting in $3,732,619 in Earned Income Tax Credits coming to the Mid-South area. These returns also resulted in $11,325,039 in tax refunds coming into our region. The Alliance received invaluable assistance from 172 VITA workers.
Roughly 80% of the people who could file and take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit have one or more children. Over 38% of the potential filers currently receive assistance from food stamps and 55% have an adjusted gross income of less than $15,000 a year. There are over 117,000 people in our region who could be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which means over 342,000 could conceivably benefit if they use the Credit in their tax returns. This number reflects over 25% of the greater Memphis metro area.
The Alliance is currently seeking grants and other support for its continuing work to see more people use the Earned Income Tax Credit, so more tax refund dollars will come to the Mid-South. These refunds are often used to pay bills, fix a vehicle to use for work transportation, and in some cases they are used as a down payment for a home. EITCA is a key component of United Way’s work to strengthen income and financial stability for local families and individuals.