City boosts economy with almost $2 million in tax relief
(5/10/2006) Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. today said he is pleased that the 2006 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program helped so many families and low-wage earners.
The City is the founding member of the New Haven Economic Security Coalition (NHESC), begun in 2002, which provides VITA services. It is one of two VITA coalitions in New Haven. Partners include: Community Action Agency, JUNTA, Spanish American Merchants Association (SAMA), National Student Partnerships, Yale University, NewAlliance Bank, and the New Haven Public Library, with support from Empower New Haven and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
This tax season, a total of 774 tax payers received help in filing their tax returns for free, a 20% leap over last year. VITA helps low-wage earners avoid expensive paid tax preparers and become aware of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – known as the most successful federal anti-poverty program ever developed.. DeStefano cited several factors that increased the numbers, including expanding the number of VITA sites from two to six to service more neighborhoods, and once again attracting about 40 volunteers, including City employees, to prepare taxes and help tax payers fill out necessary forms.
The sites were: the New Haven Public Library, Community Action Agency of New Haven, JUNTA for Progressive Action, National Student Partnerships (day-time appointments), Spanish American Merchants Association (SAMA), and the new Dixwell-Yale Community Learning Center.
Over four years, the New Haven Economic Security Coalition has provided hundreds of low and moderate income residents with free tax preparation assistance – specifically with help filing for the federal EITC. This year, 35% of taxpayers who visited the sites qualified for the EITC, and NHESC helped them to take advantage of a total of $427,000 in EITC dollars – with an average EITC of $1,600. NHESC also helped to deliver a total of more than $1.9 million in tax refunds and tax credits – putting more money in the pockets of those who need it most.