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New Yorkers Eye Early Tax Credits

November 29, 2007

Hempstead, NY - Taxpayers caught up in the annual holiday season budget crunch can look forward to some early tax relief, in the form of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Instead of waiting for the April 15th income tax deadline, many workers are eligible for immediate tax credits. Gwen O'Shea with the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island says the EITC is one of the government's most effective anti-poverty initiatives.

"The idea here is to give low-income working individuals money back at the end of the year after they work. Depending on where folks fall, they can get back close to $6,200 in cash."

On Long Island, the Council is coordinating access to numerous free sites where accountants prepare tax forms at no charge to help cash-strapped workers get the early tax credits.

"There are different sites that individuals can now utilize which are called Voluntary Income Tax Assistance sites. The benefit of these sites is that individuals are able to have their taxes prepared for free."

O'Shea says the service not only allows the taxpayer to avoid paying as much as $100 for preparing their return, it also helps them avoid resorting to so-called "rapid anticipation loans," which incur fees and interest. O'Shea says many sites, such as the Bethpage Federal Credit Union, provide rapid turnaround for EITC payments.

"They could have that money direct-deposited into their checking account. So, an individual could sign up that day, complete their taxes, and within seven days, the IRS would deposit that full amount into their new bank account for free."

Robert Knight/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - NY