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Councilman Garodnick and Food Bank For New York City Call for Increased Funding for EITC Tax Assistance Program


For Immediate Release
Wednesday, June 11, 2014

CONTACT: Shruti Sehgal, shruti.sehgal@berlinrosen.com, 646-200-5283/347-972-8863
Carol Schneider, cschneider@foodbanknyc.org, 212-566-7855, ext. 2231/646-831-3645

Highly Effective Anti-Poverty Program is Drastically Underutilized by Eligible Households in NYC
Small Investment Would Bring Major Returns, Putting Up to $9 Million in Tax Refunds into Pockets of Low-Income New Yorkers

New York, NY: Councilman Dan Garodnick joined Food Bank For New York City today in calling on the City Council to increase funding for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Tax Assistance Program Initiative, which would help put millions of dollars directly into the pockets of low-income New Yorkers.

The funding request for the EITC Tax Assistance Program Initiative would increase from the City Council’s current $150,000 budget appropriation to $250,000 in funding during the 2015 fiscal year. This relatively small investment would have major returns: reaping up to $9 million in tax refunds and credits; as well as $375,000 in SNAP benefits for low-wage working New Yorkers.

“Expanding access to the Earned Income Tax Credit is one of the smartest investments we can make in improving the lives of low-income New Yorkers,” said Food Bank For New York City President and CEO Margarette Purvis. “Free tax help is a crucial tool in Food Bank’s approach to helping families afford their next meal, and we must ensure we’re reaching those who need it most.”

"At a time when our City is focused on battling inequality, we need to be working to increase the impact of effective anti-poverty policies like the EITC," said Councilman Dan Garodnick.  "We are leaving too many federal dollars on the table, money that belongs in the pockets of those who need it most."

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is widely considered one of the nation’s best and most effective anti-poverty programs – yet every tax season, one in five households in New York that qualifies does not apply for it. In New York City alone, this unclaimed EITC leaves hundreds of millions of federal dollars on the table every year.

Councilman Garodnick is also introducing a City Council resolution today calling for the expansion of the City’s EITC from 5% to 10% of the federal EITC, lifting the credit for all eligible NYC residents, including individuals without children.

Food Bank For New York City, recognized by the IRS as one of the largest coordinators of civilian tax assistance in the country, provides free tax assistance services at locations in all five boroughs, and promotes the free tax assistance program throughout its network of approximately 1,000 community-based member organizations citywide.  In 2014 alone, Food Bank For New York City prepared more than 54,000 returns, resulting in nearly $85 million in tax refunds for low-wage households.

About Food Bank For New York City:
Food Bank For New York City recognizes 31 years as the city’s major hunger-relief organization working to end food poverty throughout the five boroughs.  As the city’s hub for integrated food poverty assistance, Food Bank tackles the hunger issue on three fronts — food distribution, income support and nutrition education — all strategically guided by its research. Through its network of community-based member programs citywide, Food Bank helps provide 400,000 free meals a day for New Yorkers in need. Food Bank’s hands-on nutrition education program in the public schools reaches thousands of children, teens and adults. Income support services including food stamps, free tax assistance for the working poor and the Earned Income Tax Credit put millions of dollars back in the pockets of low-income New Yorkers, helping them to achieve greater dignity and independence. Learn how you can help at foodbanknyc.org.

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