Past Features

March 23, 2009 (Vol. 9, No. 5)

Free Tax Services for Low-Income Families

David A. Hansell, Joanne Passineau, and John DeCelle
L-R: O.T.D.A. Commissioner David A. Hansell, Joanne Passineau of the Internal Revenue Service, and John DeCelle, executive vice president at S.E.F.C.U.
Free or low-cost income tax services are available to qualifying New York State residents through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (V.I.T.A.) program run by the State's Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (O.T.D.A.).

The V.I.T.A. program aims to ensure that everyone who is eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (E.I.T.C.) will receive it. The credit can mean several thousand dollars to low-income families and resulted in nearly $4 billion in tax credits to working families last year.

O.T.D.A. also offers clients an opportunity to be screened for eligibility for Food Stamps, the Home Energy Assistance Program, and other work supports designed to increase the economic security of low-wage working families.

For the first time this year, S.E.F.C.U., a Federal credit union, is partnering with the program in an effort to open bank accounts for those who do not have one. This will allow clients to receive their tax refunds through direct deposit and avoid unnecessary fees.

Families with an annual income of $42,000 or less can have their tax return completed at a V.I.T.A. site. Visit the O.T.D.A. site for information on V.I.T.A. sites throughout New York State.

Income Limits for E.I.T.C. Tax Year 2008

Two or more qualifying children $38,646 (or $41,646 if Married Filing Jointly)
One qualifying child $33,995 (or $36,995 if MFJ)
No qualifying children $12,880 (or $15,880 if MFJ)

Maximum Credits for Tax Year 2008

Two or more children $4,824 (federal) + $1,447 (State) = $6,271
One child $2,917 (federal) + $ 875 (State) = $3,792
No children $438 (federal) + $ 131 (State) = $ 569