Mayor Richard M. Daley today reminded eligible Chicagoans to apply for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and said office hours at several of the City's free tax preparation assistance centers will be extended as the April 15 filing deadline approaches.
"Each year the EITC returns more than $46 billion dollars to the working families of our country, including more than a half-billion dollars that comes back to Chicago to help the people who need our support the most," Daley said in a news conference held at Harold Washington College. 30 E. Lake St., the location on one of the EITC preparation centers.
"This helps keep our neighborhoods affordable to people of modest means, and it helps the local economy, too, because the money is spent on necessities," he said.
The EITC provides tax refunds of up to $4,800 to low-income working families, but the refund is not automatic. It must be applied for.
Which is why for the last nine years, the City and its non-profit partners have conducted a major outreach campaign that includes free tax preparation assistance.
This year the City has operated 30 tax preparation sites. So far, they have assisted with the preparation of more than 18,000 returns that have resulted in $29 million being refunded to Chicagoans.
But there are still many Chicagoans who are eligible for the credit who haven’t yet applied for it, Daley said in announcing that four of the assistance centers will have extended hours or extra days in the final week before the tax deadline.
The locations with extended service are:
The cutoff income for the EITC is $41,646 for families with more than one child and $15,880 for individuals. In some cases you can receive the EITC even if you don’t owe income taxes.
But Daley also reminded residents that the City offers free tax preparation assistance for people even above those income levels.
Families who earned up to $45,000 last year, and individuals who made up to $20,000, can have their taxes prepared for free by volunteers from the Tax Counseling Project and the Tax Assistance Program.
"We can save some of our residents the cost of paying a commercial tax preparer. And especially this year, every dollar we can help people save is important," the mayor said.
Residents should call 311 for days and hours of operation at the other free tax preparation sites, which are located at:
Mayor's Press Office/312.744.3334