Over the course of a tax season, an army of East Boston APAC and ABCD (Action for Boston Community Development) staff and volunteers provided virtual, drop-off tax assistance during the pandemic to ensure that residents were included in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) programs.
These staff and volunteers sprang into action during the tax season–providing individuals, families and seniors with low to moderate income with expert assistance filling out and filing their federal and state income tax returns. All eligible participants received the significant EITC and CTC refunds.
APAC returned roughly $1 million into the pockets of Eastie residents and its parent company, ABCD, returned over $6 million in federal and state tax refunds at the other eight ABCD neighborhood locations. Those returns included $1,353,994 in EITC and $437,448 in CTC credits.
Each tax season East Boston APAC, in partnership with the City of Boston, kicks off the annual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and EITC program at its office on Meridian Street.
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.
The EITC credit can be accessed retroactively for the past three years, so qualifying low-income workers qualify for a considerable sum.
Also seniors ages 65 and older were eligible to receive 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.
ABCD President/CEO John J. Drew praised the hard work and initiative of VITA workers across the city and region.
“They were there for people who need them, finding creative ways during the pandemic to bring this all-important program to qualified workers who get a considerable financial boost from EITC and CTC,” said John J. Drew, ABCD President/CEO. “This is money that working people deserve. It can provide food, rent and heat for low-income households all year long.”
Drew also applauded the recent increase in the Child Tax Credit under President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. He called the CTC an important step in moving low-income families out of poverty.
“The pandemic exposed and worsened long-standing economic issues in our society: wages that are too low, child care that is unaffordable, and a lack of paid leave to allow workers the ability to properly care for themselves and their families,” said Drew. “Policies like the expanded Child Tax Credit are essential to our economic recovery to help working parents – especially mothers – re-enter the workforce knowing their children are safe and cared for.”
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.