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City Provides Two New Locations for Free Tax Preparation Help

Deborah Bayliss | 2/6/2014, 11:28 a.m.
The City of Chicago is promoting its free Tax Preparation Assistance Program in an effort to encourage, eligible Chicago residents, ...
According to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office, 100,000 households in Chicago fail to claim the EITC, leaving as much as $200 million in unclaimed dollars.

The City of Chicago is promoting its free Tax Preparation Assistance Program in an effort to encourage, eligible Chicago residents, to apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). According to the Mayor’s office, 100,000 households in the City fail to claim the EITC, leaving as much as $200 million in unclaimed dollars.

The City is opening two new locations to offer free, tax help by trained, qualified volunteers at 20 sites from now until April 15, 2014. 

“Year after year since taking office, we have invested more resources in providing free tax preparation,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “The Earned Income Tax Credit puts money back in the pockets of working people to help them make ends meet. These added resources not only have a direct impact on the lives of Chicago residents – they help sustain our small businesses, strengthen our neighborhoods and infuse millions of dollars into our local economy.” 

The amount of the EITC varies depending on the level of income and the number of dependents. EITC can generate a tax refund larger than the amount of tax paid in through withholding.

For the years 2009 through 2017, the Earned Income Credit is temporarily increased for working families with three or more dependents. Previously the earned income credit maxed out at two dependents. In 2018, the earned income credit will revert back to maxing out with two dependents.

This year the Mayor’s administration will also direct the Department of Procurement Services to ask the City’s 2,600 vendors to share information about the City’s free program to their employees, allowing the City to reach families.

During the 2014 tax season, eligible families can receive a Federal (EITC) of more than $6,000, and an Illinois EITC of more than $600.

It‘s estimated that this year, the City’s program will assist 23,000 families applying for the EITC, helping them receive more than $45 million in refunds and save $4.5 million in tax preparation fees – a 25 percent increase over 2012 when the program helped 18,078 working families receive more than $36 million in refunds.  The average EITC recipient receives a refund of $2,200. 

Free tax preparation assistance is available to income tax filers who are eligible for the EITC.  The tax year 2013 EITC income limits are:

· $46,227 ($51,567 married filing jointly) with three or more qualifying children

· $43,038 ($48,378 married filing jointly) with two qualifying children

· $37,870 ($43,210 married filing jointly) with one qualifying child

· $14,340 ($19,680 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children

Volunteer tax preparers can assist with completing federal and state income tax returns for the 2013 tax year and, in some cases, prior years.

For more information on EITC, call 311 or visit the website at www.taxprepchicago.org to find the location nearest you.