For many working people in East Boston there’s some relief from the confusing process of figuring out taxes year after year. East Boston APAC, in partnership with the City of Boston, runs an annual Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program at its office on Meridian Street.
Qualified, hard-working, low-wage workers often receive significant EITC credits and see a big increase in their tax-returns refunds through the free program. This is money that can directly help low-income residents who work hard. It can be used to pay the heat, food and rent costs that are weighing people down.
During his State of the State and subsequent filing of the state budget, Governor Charlie Baker called on the legislation to once again expand the EITC program.
“To increase the take home pay for more than 400,000 working families we expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit in 2015,” said Baker. “We’re proposing another increase in the EITC in our budget which would result in a doubling of the credit. I look forward to signing that provision into law.”
The 2015 bill increased the EITC from 15 percent to 23 percent of the federal EITC, extending the maximum state credit from $951 to $1,459 for those who were eligible.
Baker’s plan will double the EITC from 15 percent to 30 percent by Fiscal Year 2020.
“This fiscally responsible budget continues to support every community in the Commonwealth—without raising taxes on the people of Massachusetts,” said Baker. “Through tax credits, new programs and increased investments, our proposal will support working families, as well as small businesses and enhance programs to make college more affordable, fight the opioid epidemic and get workers the skills they need to compete for better jobs. We look forward to working with the Legislature in the coming months to pass a sustainable and balanced state budget.”
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 were eligible to receive up to $1,050 in tax refunds from the State of Massachusetts through the “Senior Circuit Breaker Tax Credit”. This credit was available to all eligible seniors who paid unsubsidized rent or property taxes and was also retroactive for three years. The “Senior Circuit Breaker” offered a tremendous financial opportunity for those who qualify.
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 in low income areas.
The plan to increase the EITC is part of the Baker Administration’s $40 billion state budget.