Federal Economic Stimulus Refund Causes Run on Tax Program
March 25, 2008
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The annual Contra Costa Earn It! Keep It! Save It! (EKS) free tax preparation program is seeing a surge in clients thanks to the federal economic stimulus package.
To receive the new, one-time tax rebate (up to $600 for single taxpayers and $1,200 for joint filers) people must file a tax return. That's good news for EKS, which has been trying to encourage more people to take advantage of its program that helps low- to moderate-income families and individuals claim tax refunds and credits owed them. The program runs through April 15 at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites throughout the Bay Area.
The VITA sites are seeing about a third more people because of the new tax rebate, said EKS Campaign Manager Lloyd Madden.
"The federal economic stimulus package has caused more people to seek our assistance and that's really to their benefit. Many people are unaware of our program and that we can help them get the other tax credits and refunds they qualify for. In these hard economic times, this extra money is even more important," Madden said.
Last tax season, EKS program helped 2,148 families and individuals in Contra Costa receive more than $2.4 million in total tax refunds and credits, such as federal Earned Income Tax (EITC) and Child Care credits, Madden said.
To qualify for EKS, household incomes must have been less than $42,000 in 2007. Some VITA sites take appointments. Asset management information and language interpreters also are available at some sites. For locations call 1-800-358-8832 or visit www.cchealth.org
EKS is sponsored in Contra Costa by the Contra Costa Family Economic Security Partnership (FESP), a nonprofit, public and private collaboration whose partners include Contra Costa County Employment and Human Services, Contra Costa Health Services, United Way of the Bay Area, First 5 Contra Costa, the Community Housing Development Corporation of North Richmond, the IRS, AARP, Contra Costa, Diablo Valley and Los Medanos community colleges, East Bay Works, the Workforce Investment Board and the East Bay Community Foundation.
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- Kate Fowlie