By John Lynds
Most people don’t want to think about it but it’s the time a year to begin thinking about filing 2015 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, kicked off its annual Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program at its office on Meridian Street. The office will be opened Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to help begin the tax filing process. Taxes for qualifying residents can be done through appointment by calling the APAC office at (617) 567-8857.
For many working people in Eastie the program has provided some relief from the confusing process of figuring out taxes. Qualified hard working low-wage workers often receive significant EITC credits and see a big increase in their tax returns through the free program. This is money that can directly help low-income residents who work hard for their money. It can be used to pay the heat, food and rent costs that are weighing people down.
This will be the first tax season that reflects a substantial increase to the EITC program singed by Governor Charlie Baker last year. Baker approved a 50 percent increase in the EITC program. Over 400,000 working families here and across the Commonwealth will be able to benefit from the increase this tax season. The bill increases the EITC from 15 percent to 23 percent of the federal EITC, extending the maximum state credit from $951 to $1,459 and meaning as much as $500 in additional support for those who are eligible.
Last year eligible Eastie residents with three or more qualifying children filing a return qualified if they made $47,747 ($53,267 married filing jointly). For a resident filing a return with two qualifying children qualified if they made $44,454 ($49,974 married filing jointly). Residents with one qualifying child filing a return qualified if they made $39,131 ($44,651 married filing jointly). Residents with no children qualified if they made $14,820 ($20,330 married filing jointly). The Tax Year 2015 maximum credit will be $6,242 with three or more qualifying children, $5,548 with two qualifying children, $3,359 with one qualifying child and $503 with no qualifying children.
Last year, 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.
The EITC credit can be accessed retroactively for the past three years, so qualifying low-income workers may qualify for a considerable sum.
Also seniors aged 65 and older may be eligible to receive up to $1050 in tax refunds from the State of Massachusetts through the “Senior Circuit Breaker Tax Credit”. This credit is available to all eligible seniors who pay unsubsidized rent or property taxes and is retroactive for three years. The “Senior Circuit Breaker” offers a tremendous financial opportunity for those who qualify. It is important to note that seniors must file a tax return in order to receive the Senior Circuit Breaker credit even if they do not owe taxes.
Initiated by the IRS in 1969, the EITC and VITA is a nationwide program that assists taxpayers earning up to $58,000 a year. VITA sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers like APAC, libraries, schools, shopping malls and other convenient locations such as community colleges.