United Way invests $33,000 to increase claiming EITC in Lawrence
LAWRENCE- United Way of Massachusetts Bay & Merrimack Valley announced today that it is investing $33,000 to expand the number of tax sites it funds in Lawrence, in an effort to help more residents file for their Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a refundable federal income tax credit for low-income working individuals and families. Studies show that approximately 60% of the Lawrence population is potentially eligible to claim EITC, yet an estimated $4.7 million in tax credits go unclaimed each year.
In 2008, United Way expanded its EITC effort into Lawrence for the first time. Last year, United Way's investments supported two tax prep sites and outreach to help more local residents and families file for their earned income tax credit. In its first year, the
- Helped eligible individuals and families access $177,869
in earned income tax credits.
- Provided free tax services so individuals could access $389,709 in tax refunds.
- Reached out to thousands of residents increasing
awareness of EITC.
"With the economy pushing many Massachusetts families into financial crisis, we need to ensure that people have the information and assistance they need to access
EITC and use it to build savings and financial security," said Michael K. Durkin, President and CEO of United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. "In addition to traditional outreach, we are encouraging individuals who have not previously been eligible for EITC but may have experienced a job loss or a change in salary this year,
to look into their eligibility."
Individuals who earned less than less than $42,000 in 2008 may be eligible to receive more than $5000 of their earnings back through EITC, money that low and moderate
income families can use to pay off debt or save for the future. It also benefits the local economy. Federal EITC brought over one-half billion into the Massachusetts economy in 2008, an 8% increase from the previous season. The state EITC resulted in another $8.5
This year, United Way will invest $53,000 to raise awareness and equip free tax prep
sites throughout the region. The investment is part of a larger strategy to improve financial stability among individuals and families. United Way also invests in skills development, education, career advancement, and asset building opportunities that help low-income workers achieve financial stability. Lawrence residents filing for EITC through United Way partner tax sites can also be connected to other local services, like fuel assistance, financial education, or job training.
For eligible families, free tax preparation services will be available at the following locations:
Lawrence Community Works
168 Newbury Street, Lawrence
Open: February 4 - April 15, 2009
Hours: Wednesday, 5:00 - 9:00 p.m.; Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.; and Saturday, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
For more information and appointments, call 978-685-3115.
Hispanic Office of Planning and Evaluation (HOPE)
10 Pemberton Way, 2nd Floor, Lawrence
Open: January 28 - April 11, 2009
Hours: Monday and Wednesday, 4:00 - 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
For information and appointments, call Teresa at 978-975-2636.
Greater Lawrence Community Action Council
305 Essex Street, Lawrence
Open: February 3 - April 7, 2009
Hours:Tuesday and Thursday, 4:00 - 7:00 p.m.
For more information and appointments, call Diamond at 978-681-4900.
American Training, Inc.
102 Glenn Street, Lawrence
Open: February 7 - April 11, 2009
Hours: Saturday, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
To find another free tax preparation site, residents can dial 2-1-1, United Way's free health and human service referral hotline. Filers earning $56,000 or less can also get free tax services and, if eligible, access their EITC online. By visiting the Boston Beehive Website (www.thebeehive.org/BostonFreeTaxes), a partnership between United Way and One Economy, users can access Web-based tools and information about financial services and file their federal and state income tax returns.
United Way partners with the IRS, Bank of America and other community leaders across the region to ensure that Massachusetts residents have the information and resources they need to access their full earned income tax credit.
United Way's larger strategy to improve financial stability among individuals and families invests in basic needs, housing, employment training, and other asset building opportunities.