Helping local taxpayers navigate a complex tax code and get their full refunds from Uncle Sam is the goal of a Westchester County government program that is entering its fifth year.
Under the program, which lasts until the tax filing deadline deadline on April 15, the county is offering free tax preparation assistance to low and moderate-income residents. One goal of the program is to help eligible taxpayers apply for tax credits that can significantly lower their federal tax bills.
Last year, the program helped 4,870 Westchester residents secure federal income tax refunds of more than $4 million.
“The IRS really wants to get this money out to people” County Executive Andrew Spano said today at a news conference. “We have been able to put a good group together to do this….This program helps the neediest people that we have.”
Helping taxpayers apply for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit is a major focus of the program. Taxpayers with incomes below $41,464 may be eligible to claim this credit, which can result in a refund of more than $4,800, according to the Internal Revenue Service. The amount of the credit varies based on the taxpayer’s filing status, incomes and children in the household.
“If you are earning $40,000 a year, $35,000 a year, $20,000 a year, and someone gives you $5,000 that you didn’t know that you were going to get, that’s a big deal,” Spano said.
Other tax credits also may be available to families, including the the Child Tax credit, Education Credits and Dependent Child Care Credits.
Numerous sites around the county are offering the free taxpayer assistance. People can call United Way’s 2-1-1 line to identify convenient locations and business hours. Appointments are recommended but walk-ins are accepted. The hours of operation vary by site, with evening and weekend hours at some locations. Taxpayers with household income below $42,000 are eligible for the service.
For additional information, go to westchestergov.com/eitc.