Yesterday, I had an opportunity to join Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, advocates from the IRS, United Way, community organizations, volunteers and supporters in Nurses Hall of the State House to celebrate Massachusetts Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day. The goal was to inform working residents and families in the Commonwealth about the opportunities available to them through the Massachusetts EITC program and to recognize the collaborative work of all the community-based organizations, volunteers, federal and state entities that work together to broaden the reach of this important resource.
The ceremony also included a series of speakers, who all reinforced the positive impact the EITC has for so many working families in Massachusetts. Among the speakers was a single mother, who expressed how support from Action for Boston Community Development, including EITC assistance, prevented her family from poverty in the most trying of times.
Lt. Governor Murray and EITC Business and Community Partners with Governor's Proclamation
The EITC offers refunds in the form of tax credits to help families save more of what they earn. Taxpayers may claim the credit even if they may not owe any taxes or may not have any income taxes withheld from their pay. To receive the credit, taxpayers must file tax returns and claim the credit.
There are over 300 free tax preparation sites, known as VITA sites, throughout the Commonwealth, which are supported by the assistance of hundreds of volunteers. Some of the sites also provide financial literacy such as budgeting, credit advising, and asset development. Depending on family size and income, households may be eligible for up to $6,506 in combined federal and state credits. Last year, approximately 340,000 Massachusetts households received the EITC benefits, yet an estimated twenty percent of eligible households – that's thousands of working families – failed to claim it.
In these challenging economic times, an EITC refund is just what many families and individuals need to meet some of their most basic needs – to pay rent, bills and food, put down their first down payment on a home, or help fund their education. As one EITC volunteer said, through the EITC we can make a difference “one family at a time.” If you are interested in volunteering, please visit www.masscap.org or www.bostontaxhelp.org. If you are interested in locating a VITA site near you, please go to www.masscashback.org. For more information about the Massachusetts EITC, please visit: