Like many working mothers, Crystal Davis lives a fast-paced life and tries to stretch every dollar. She’s a swing shift manager at McDonald’s, is preparing to send two teens off to college this summer, and cares for two more children at home.
Thanks to the Earned Income Tax Credit, she’ll soon be receiving a little extra money in her pocket, and hopefully, a little extra time to enjoy it.
Ms. Davis is one of thousands of lower-income workers in Michigan who qualify for both a federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and a state EITC this year, which can add up to $6,788 for those who qualify.
“I plan to clean up my credit, do a little investing and buy some savings bonds,” she told a visitor at the Northend Neighborhood Tax Center, run by Accounting Aid Society.
Claiming the EITC can be tricky. To qualify, certain requirements must be met and a tax return must be filed, even if a taxpayer did not earn enough money to tax or owes no taxes.
Accounting Aid Society’s mission is to help ensure that low to moderate income people get all of the tax refunds and credits they deserve.
With more than 35 years of experience, Accounting Aid offers free, one-on-one personal income tax and credit preparation services by trained IRS-certified preparers for families making $50,000 or less and individuals with incomes of $25,000 of less.
This is the third year Ms. Davis has taken advantage of the agency’s services.
“It’s a great tax experience with professional people of excellence,” she said.
Help for self-employed workers
Self-employed workers who meet the income guidelines can also receive free tax assistance from Accounting Aid Society. This includes help with taxable wages and benefits, non-wage and retirement income, and itemized deductions, as well as tax credits for working families and students, and the first-time homebuyer’s credit. Electronic filing is always an option.
Last year, the non-profit helped more than 700 self-employed workers with their income taxes.
A do-it-yourself option
Accounting Aid Society can also assist those who want to do their own income taxes. Free use of computers and online tax software is available at the agency’s Northend Neighborhood Tax Center during designated hours. The software walks clients step-by-step through the process. Trained Accounting Aid support staff is available to help with problems.
The eligibility guidelines for the do-it-yourself option are different. Clients can have earned income up to $58,000. They need a valid e-mail address and a valid Social Security number or individual taxpayer ID number. This service is a partnership with United Way for Southeastern Michigan.
Outreach to the elderly and disabled
In addition to Accounting Aid’s 25 tax season locations, the non-profit agency also offers a homebound tax assistance program. This is a mail-in correspondence service for those 65 years and older, and those physically unable to visit a tax site.
On Tuesday, March 30, Accounting Aid, in partnership with United Way for Southeastern Michigan, will host a special afternoon of free tax help for those with disabilities. The event will run from noon to 7 p.m. at Accounting Aid’s Northend Neighborhood Tax Center, 7700 Second Ave. at Pallister, in the New Center area. For details, call (313) 556-1920 or toll-free (866) 673-0873.