On January 7, 2010, JOTF and the Baltimore CASH Campaign co-hosted their annual “Making Tax Time Pay” forum, which gives local organizations the information they need on tax benefits available to low-wage workers and local free tax prep resources. A group of nearly 50 service providers and advocates came to learn more about the importance of filing a return for low-wage workers, and how to get the word out to clients.
Rob Bader from the Baltimore CASH Campaign provided an overview of tax credits available to low-wage workers, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the Child Tax Credit, and the Dependent Care Credit. The EITC is the most meaningful for families, since it provides a refundable credit worth any where from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on a family’s size and income. For many families, the EITC is a windfall that can either help them catch up on basic expenses, or help them with a much-needed major expense such as a reliable car.
The forum also provided information on new and expanded tax benefits created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). In addition to increasing the EITC overall, the IRS also added a new category and EITC amount for larger families with three or more children. An additional tax credit called the Making Work Pay Credit was also introduced. From April to December of 2009, the credit increased take-home pay by up to $400 per taxpayer. Other ARRA benefits include an expanded Child Tax Credit, an expanded education tax credit, and an exemption waiving taxes on the first $2,400 of unemployment insurance benefits.
The CASH Campaign provided information on their 20 free tax prep sites around the Baltimore area. For more information, call 443-692-9487.