Detroiters leave $80 million in unclaimed tax credits each year

Friday, February 3, 2017

In response to more than $80 million going unclaimed each year, Detroit officials on Thursday announced a campaign aimed at helping residents get larger tax refunds through a partnership.

Officials estimate that as many as 26,000 Detroiters do not apply for the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit each year, according to a city news release.

The city will team up with the Accounting Aid Society, United Way for Southeastern Michigan and other community organizations to mobilize an outreach and education campaign about the tax credit. Detroit and the accounting society will train more than 500 volunteers to mobilize tax preparation sites across the city and to encourage residents to claim the credit.

To help spread the word, Outfront Media gifted the city 30 billboards free of charge aimed at encouraging Detroiters to apply for the EITC.

According to the release, the campaign will result in more than 30 locations across Detroit to provide better access to tax preparation.

“The earned income tax credit can put money directly in Detroiters’ pockets and could even make the difference in their ability to stay in their home or pay their utility bills,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a news release. “For far too long Detroit hasn’t claimed its share of EITC dollars and we want to make sure they receive everything they are entitled to.”

The Earned Income Tax Credit is available to families and people who meet income requirements and file tax returns. The news release lays out a couple of examples to show how much either a single person or family could get back:

A person between the ages of 25-64 with no children and a part-time, minimum-wage job could make back $500. A family with a married couple, three or more children with a combined income of $23,000 could net the maximum $6,269.

“We want workers who may qualify for EITC to have all the information they need to get this important benefit,” Jim Fish, IRS Area Director, said in the release. “This credit can make a huge difference for hard-working Americans and it is one of the government’s best tools to fight poverty.”