OSWEGO, NY Ã¢â‚¬â€œ The United Way of Greater Oswego County would like to remind families throughout Oswego County about the advantages of applying for the Earned Income Tax Credit program.
Once again the United Way is partnering with community-based organizations to help raise awareness of a program that in recent years has benefited hundreds of families throughout Oswego County.
The EITC program, a federally funded, anti-poverty initiative helps working people maintain their independence from the welfare system and increase their financial stability.
The Earned Income Tax Credit reduces taxes for workers, supplements wages, and makes work more attractive than welfare.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is a wonderful program that not only benefits working families with children, it also reduces demand for public service and benefit programs, and helps our local economy as well,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Melanie Trexler, executive director of the United Way. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The EITC program has the potential to provide seniors and low-income families with some much needed extra money that can make a real difference in their quality of life.
The United Way in collaboration with several agencies and organizations including RSVP, SUNY Oswego, and AmeriCorps, will be working to better educate the public about the EITC program and how it can have a positive impact on their lives.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have been working with agencies that offer low income families that qualify for the EITC program free tax preparation. We want to spread the word to as many families as possible about the EITC program and encourage them to take advantage of the many benefits the program offers,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Trexler.
One of the collaborating partners with the United Way is the School of Business at SUNY Oswego.
Its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program provides free income tax filing.
Established 1997 by Dean Crawford, chair of SUNYÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Accounting, Finance, and Law division, VITA is comprised of student volunteers who are members of Beta Alpha Psi, chapter 1123.
All volunteers are certified by the IRS and handle all of the manual work of filing the income tax returns.
The SUNY School of Business provides the volunteers with the computers and necessary software to prepare the tax returns.
The students are also well versed on the EITC program and will apply for the program when applicable.
VITA also has the capability of filing returns electronically so that those who use their services can receive their returns even quicker.
All services offered through VITA are free of charge.
Students from the SUNY Oswego VITA program will be available to offer free tax preparation at the following locations:
Oswego City Library, Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. now through April 10. The service will not be available March 13 and 20).
The Oswego County Workforce Center, Route 481, across from MimiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s in Fulton, Tuesdays from 4 to 7 p.m. now through April 13.
Requirements for taxpayers to be eligible to receive the EITC include the following:
Filing a 2009 income tax form, have three children living with you and earned $43,279 or less ($48,279 married filing jointly).
Filing a 2009 income tax form, have two children living with you and earned $40,295 or less ($45,295 married filing jointly).
Filing a 2009 income tax form, one child living with you and earned $35,463 or less ($40,463 married filing jointly).
Filing a 2009 income tax form, with no children living with you and earned $13,440 or less ($18,440 married filing jointly).
Taxpayers wishing to take advantage of this free tax preparation should bring the following information with them to the counseling site:
Last yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s completed tax forms, W-2s, and 1099s.
Unemployment compensation statements.
All forms indicating federal income tax paid (i.e. estimated tax payments).
Dependent care provider information – name, employer, ID Social Security number, amount spent for services.
All receipts or cancelled checks if itemized deductions.
Social Security or individual identification cards for you, your spouse and dependents.
If you are a homeowner, bring your property tax receipts for year 2009. This year there is a special increase to your standard deduction because of paying property tax.
For more information on the EITC program and free help with tax preparations, call the United Way at 593-1900 or RSVP at 312-2317.