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United Way Promotes Earned Income Tax Credit Program

FULTON, NY – 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.

Members of SUNY Oswego’s School of Business Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program are offering free income tax preparation. From left in front are: Professor Crawford, SUNY School of Business; Ellen Wahl, director of RSVP; David Passonno SUNY student volunteer; Dean Skolnick, Dean of SUNY School of Business; Tiffany Chiu, SUNY student coordinator; Jenna Barr SUNY student volunteer and Michael Kurdyla, SUNY student volunteer.
Members of SUNY Oswego’s School of Business Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program are offering free income tax preparation. From left in front are: Professor Crawford, SUNY School of Business; Ellen Wahl, director of RSVP; David Passonno SUNY student volunteer; Dean Skolnick, Dean of SUNY School of Business; Tiffany Chiu, SUNY student coordinator; Jenna Barr SUNY student volunteer and Michael Kurdyla, SUNY student volunteer.

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.

“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,” said Melanie Trexler, executive director of the United Way of Greater Oswego County. “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.

“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,” said Trexler.

One 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, chairman of SUNY’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, as well as volunteers from the RSVP program, will be available to offer free tax preparation at the following locations:

Monday through Friday

Phoenix Public Library*, Beginning Feb. 1, by appointment, – 695-2553 / 458-1465 / 934-4333.

Tuesdays

McCrobie Civic Center, Lake Street in Oswego, Feb. 1 – April 5, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Workforce Development Building*, (in Fulton, across from Mimi’s) Feb. 2 – April 6, 9 a.m. – noon and 6 – 8 p.m.

Wednesdays

Fulton Municipal Building*, Feb. 1- April 5, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Workforce Development Building*, (in Fulton, across from Mimi’s) Feb. 2 – April 6, 9 a.m. – noon and 6 – 8 p.m.

Thursdays

St. Bernadette’s Church, Route 49, Constantia – beginning Feb. 3, by appointment, 623-9803

Hamilton Homes, Oswego*, Feb. 3, 17, March 3, 17, 31, 4:30 p.m.

Saturdays

Oswego Public Library*, Jan. 29 – April 9, noon – 5 p.m.

(*Tax preparation will not be available on March 12 through 19).

Requirements for taxpayers to be eligible to receive the EITC include the following:

  • One child living with you and earned less than $35,535*, you can get an EIC up to $3050.  (*Income limits for married workers are $5,000 higher.)
  • More than one child living with you and earned less than  $40,363*, you can get an EIC up to $5,036. (*Income limits for married workers are $5,000 higher.)
  • No children living with you, earned less than $13,460 and are between the ages of 25 and 64, you can get an EIC up to $457.

Income limits for married workers are $5,000 higher.

Many families that earned more than $3,000 may qualify for the Child Tax Credit refund, up to $1,000 for each qualifying child under age 17.

Taxpayers wishing to take advantage of this free tax preparation should bring the following information with them to the counseling site:

  • Last year’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 canceled 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 2010.

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.