The city’s effort to get more eligible Detroit residents to file their earned income tax credit is paying off, city officials say.
More than 18,000 more residents filed for the federal and state earned income tax credits in 2016 than in 2015. Liza Howze is the city’s director of legislative affairs.
She says the increase is a result of a city-led effort to get more residents to take advantage of the credit.
“We were able to bring an additional $74 million back to Detroiters as a result of them claiming both the federal and state EITC,” Howze said.
When the city launched this initiative back in January, there was $80 million in unclaimed refunds from the previous year, according to Mayor Mike Duggan.
According to city officials, the 18,000 additional people to file for the EITC received an average of $4,000 more in 2016 than in 2015.
Mariah Allen, who was a speaker both at the launch event in January and today’s press event, used her refund to help buy a new home.
“I actually paid off a few debts to help raise my credit score so when it is time to purchase a home, I will be able to,” Allen said.
The refund also helped reduce some stress for Allen, as she had given birth to her third child earlier this year.
“I used the money for other things like my unpaid maternity leave, and that was very helpful,” she added.
People who didn’t file their federal tax returns this year are still eligible for the credit.
Detroit has 12 free tax preparation sites across the city.