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Taking Credit Where Credit's Due at Tax Time in MI

February 10, 2009

Many Michigan workers haven't gotten pay raises, or have seen their hours cut back; perhaps they've even been laid off, all of which make it difficult to meet household budgets. However, lower-income families can put hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars into their piggy banks by making sure they file for all available credits and deductions during this income tax season.

Judy Putnam, communications director for the Michigan League for Human Services reminds low-income tax filers that they could take advantage of as many as seven federal and state tax credits and deductions, including one new this year: the Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

"We're anticipating an average credit will be $193 per household, so that's quite a nice little pot of money if you're struggling."

Putnam says there's plenty of free tax preparation help available from IRS-trained volunteers. She advises taxpayers to have refunds sent directly to them by the Internal Revenue Service, which also will help them avoid paying fees associated with those "rapid refund" loan come-ons.

"If you're paying a big chunk of that for a rapid refund loan, that's hundreds of dollars you're taking out of your own pocket."

Putnam says the free tax preparation assistance is a phone call away; dial 211 and ask for the nearest locations. Free tax preparation software is also available online, from www.michiganEIC.org.

The money saved by not paying a tax preparer or those "rapid refund" charges could be spent on family needs instead, she adds.


Tony Bruscato, Public News Service - MI