It’s Tax Season Again: and APAC Can Help

Most people don’t want to think about it but it’s that time of the year to begin thinking about filing 2011 tax returns. For many working people in East Boston there’s some relief from the confusing process of figuring out taxes.

East Boston APAC, in partnership with the City of Boston, has kicked off its annual Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program at its office on Meridian Street.  The office will be opened Monday thru Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to help begin the tax filing process.

Eligible residents who worked in 2011 can qualify for up to $5,700 depending on income and family size.  The income threshold this year is set at approximately $43,998 ($49,078 if married filing jointly). For families with three or more children it is set at $40,964 ($46,044 if married filing jointly) for families with two or more children it is set at $36,052 ($41,132 if married filing jointly) for families with one child or no children it is set at $13,660 ($18,740 if married filing jointly). Investment income must be $3,150 or less, and children must meet certain relationship and residency requirements.

“If you are eligible, you earned this money, so don’t let your refund go unclaimed,” said APAC Director Amy Lima. “More importantly, don’t spend any of your refund paying for tax preparation – get your taxes prepared at APAC’s tax preparation site for free and keep the money in your pocket.”

APAC returned over $1 million back into the pockets of Eastie residents through he EITC program last year. APAC was one of several free tax preparation sites in the city that made filing taxes trouble-free for hundreds of Eastie’s low-income residents and families.

“Last year was an amazing tax season and we surpassed our goal of $1 million,” said Lima. “This was the most successful EITC program we’ve run since the program’s beginning in 2002.”

In 2002 APAC filed only 35 tax returns for families but that number dramatically increased each year.

Last year APAC processed over 1,000-combine state and federal tax returns that netted $1 million for Eastie families.

“It’s unbelievable that three people and a few volunteers on the weekends were able to accomplish so much,” said Lima. “It’s a great way for us to help put money back into the pockets of Eastie’s working families.”

The popular program has become an oasis for hundreds of families in the neighborhood over the course of the tax season and the program continues to grown by leaps and bounds.

“Aside from our winter fuel assistance program this is our other big program,” said Lima.  “It’s become a good alternative for many families that qualify who would otherwise have to pay a big firm to get their taxes processed.”

Citywide, the EITC campaign, a collaboration of city, state and federal government organizations, regulators, foundations, non-profits and community-based organizations (CBO’s), as well as the business community operated 20 free tax preparation sites-serving nearly Last year more than 12,000 Boston taxpayers used the available tax centers to file their taxes for free, receiving upwards of $21 million in total tax credits.

“Working families are due upwards of $ with the EITC tax credit.  That is money that can be used to save for the future, pay bills, or make important purchases,” said Mayor Thomas Menino said. “Our free tax prep centers are open to make sure that the money that residents have worked hard for all year goes back into their pockets.”

At APAC, said Lima, it’s the volunteers that enable EITC to accomplish their objective in the neighborhood.

“We are thankful for all the fabulous volunteers that helped make this year’s program a success,” said Lima. “They were a dedicated group and we appreciate the time they spent here at APAC helping Eastie families.”

In addition to taxes, APAC is also offering free credit advice.

“We are trying to expand on our tax program by offering some financial planning services to promote asset building,” said Lima.

Residents should call APAC if they have any questions or want to make an appointment at 617-567-8857.

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