Chairman Jean Monestime teams up with United Way, IRS and others on expanded efforts to lift working families out of poverty
Free tax prep to ensure qualifying residents claim the EITC, preview of Bank On Miami, and launch of financial coaching initiative
MIAMI-DADE – In keeping with his prosperity agenda, Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Jean Monestime is teaming up with the United Way, the City of Miami, the IRS and others to raise awareness about the Earned Income Tax Credit and its important role in lifting working families out of poverty. The event will also give residents the opportunity to have their taxes done on-site for free.
Coinciding with the start of tax season, and as part of the 10th anniversary of National Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day, Chairman Monestime will join United Way representatives and officials from Branches, which operates the United Way Center for Financial Stability, at a press conference and event to discuss the EITC and two new initiatives to help working families build and preserve assets on Friday, Jan. 29 at 10:15 a.m. in the Press Room adjacent to the Miami-Dade County Commission Chamber on the second floor of the Stephen P. Clark Center, 111 NW 1st St. in Miami. Also participating will be representatives from Miami Dade College, the City of Miami, the IRS and several social service agencies.
Immediately following the press conference, volunteers from the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program will help residents file their tax returns to ensure maximum refunds for those who qualify. People making $54,000 or less generally qualify for the free tax help. Volunteers will make sure residents claim the EITC if they are entitled to it.
The EITC, which was established in 1975, is a federal tax credit for low- and moderate-income working people that encourages and rewards work while offsetting federal payroll and income taxes. The EITC lifts more Americans out of poverty than any other national program, but the IRS estimates that 17 percent of Miami-Dade residents who qualify aren’t claiming it. Last year, Miami-Dade residents who filed their tax returns at a VITA site saved more than $1.5 million in tax preparation fees and received more than $11.3 million in refunds.
In addition to the EITC, Chairman Monestime will preview Bank On Miami, which will be launched in February as a collaborative effort to help residents gain access to safe and affordable financial products and services, become more financially stable and reduce dependence on predatory financial products. Additionally, United Way President and CEO Harve A. Mogul will announce a new initiative that is establishing standards of quality for financial coaching and improving the integration of financial stability services to help working families in Miami-Dade.
Reducing the County’s income gap has been a focus of Chairman Monestime’s legislative efforts since being elected Commission Chairman in January 2015, when he set up the Council for Prosperity Initiatives to identify ways to expand economic opportunities.