Kristine Foye (HUD) (617) 994-8218
January 19, 2006
HUD-IRS PARTNERSHIP HELPS LOW-INCOME WORKING FAMILIES CUT
THEIR TAX BILLS AND PUT CASH IN THEIR POCKETS
Thousands eligible for Earned Income Tax Credit don't claim it
LOWELL, MA - Today, officials from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) joined Lowell Mayor Michael Sullivan and members of the Lowell Earned Income Tax Coalition
to launch an outreach initiative to help low-income working families save thousands of dollars on their annual income taxes through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and other tax assistance.
The Earned Income Tax Credit has grown to be one of the nation's most powerful income supplements for low-
income working families, and is a highly effective work incentive for families with children. Last year, HUD and the
IRS launched a partnership to help low-income working individuals and families - many of whom are beneficiaries of HUD services and programs - to save money on their annual income taxes through the EITC.
The Lowell EITC Campaign Partnership, which is comprised of human service agencies, community leaders and local businesses, is celebrating its fourth year. On January 31, the Campaign will begin offering free tax preparation for families with household incomes of less than $35,000, and individuals with incomes less than $15,000. This service
is free and at no cost to the taxpayers.
The free tax preparation sites are at the Mercier Center, Community Teamwork, and the Lowell Senior Center
Library. Site hours of operation can be obtained by calling 1-800-617-1632.
"At HUD we serve people who rely on assistance just to make ends meet, but many of them do not take advantage
of this credit," said Taylor Caswell, HUD's regional director. "Whether saving money for a downpayment on a house,
or to pay for necessities and their rent, or to splurge on something a little extra, every dollar counts."
The EITC does not affect eligibility for low-income housing, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or food stamps.
According to William Smits, IRS territory manager, "One of IRS's important objectives is to assure people get the benefits they are entitled to. By partnering with HUD and all of Mayor Martin's EITC Coalition sites, we hope to educate the public about EITC and put more money into the pockets of working families."
Last year, the Lowell EITC Campaign Partnership helped taxpayers receive $464,000 in refunds and credits. More
than $12 million went unclaimed by Merrimack Valley residents. The HUD-IRS partnership aims to educate the public, particularly lower income families of the significant tax savings available to them.
At the free sites, tax professionals and volunteers work together to prepare and file tax returns electronically, ensuring they are filed safely and quickly. People typically receive their refunds in 5-10 days.
Income and family size determine the amount of the EITC. For example, if you are a working family and you earned less than $37,263 in 2005 and lived with two or more "qualifying" children, you can receive up to $5,060 in federal
and state credits.
If you are a working family with one "qualifying" child and earned less than $33,030 in 2005, you may receive up to $3,061. If you are single or a married working couple with no children and earned less than $13,750 in 2005, you
can receive a credit of up to $459.
This local effort follows a partnership agreement made by HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson and IRS Commissioner
Mark Everson in December, 2004. In a joint signing ceremony, the two officials said the interagency agreement will improve services and coordination to reach millions of low-income taxpayers nationwide.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.