[News Release] Local Nonprofit to Hold “Taxathon,” Return Half Million in Tax Refunds

Prepare + Prosper and the Claim it! campaign kick of tax season with a 24-hour “Taxathon” during their busiest weekend.

Contacts:

Taylor Putz, Prepare + Prosper
651-262-2160 (desk) 920-904-4395 (cell)
taylor@prepareandprosper.org

Marsha Pitts-Phillips, Greater Twin Cities United Way
612-340-7401 (desk) 612-408-7828 (cell)
Marsha.Pitts-Phillips@gtcuw.org

WHAT: Prepare + Prosper holds marathon tax preparation “Taxathon” at peak of tax season. Volunteers will provide free tax prep services to hundreds in two-day push resulting in more than a half million dollars in “claimed” tax credits, including Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) for hardworking families. Short program and countdown with government and nonprofit leaders will kick-off the event, which is also celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Claim it! campaign.

Prepare + Prosper is extending its hours during the “Taxathon” by opening on Friday and extending its services throughout the day on Saturday. With millions of dollars in EITC “left on the table” annually, Prepare + Prosper, along with Greater Twin Cities United Way, is encouraging eligible taxpayers to take advantage of money they earned.

WHO: Prepare + Prosper, Greater Twin Cities United Way, United Way 2-1-1. Speakers include Minnesota Department of Revenue Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly, Prepare + Prosper Executive Director Tracy Fischman, and Greater Twin Cities United Way Senior Vice President of Community Impact Meghan Barp.

WHEN: Friday, February 5, 2015

9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. (Preceded by short program at 8:45 a.m. including countdown to Taxathon with leaders, volunteers and tax filers)
Saturday, February 6, 2015
9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. – Taxathon volunteer tax prep continues

WHERE: Prepare + Prosper (located in the Court West Building)
2610 University Ave. W., Lower Level
St. Paul, MN 55114

MORE: Volunteer tax preparers, taxpayers and leadership are available for interviews.

About Claim it! – Celebrating 10 years, Claim it!, managed by Prepare + Prosper and funded by Greater Twin Cities United Way, is a statewide public awareness campaign to promote the

Earned Income Tax Credit and free tax preparation for hardworking Minnesotans. For more information, call 651-262-2160 or United Way 2-1-1.

About Prepare + Prosper – Prepare + Prosper is a nonprofit focused on financial capability for low-income households. It provides free tax preparation and access to financial services and products; builds the capacity of other organizations providing these services; and works to advance policies and practices that directly benefit the people it serves. In 2015, 555 volunteers prepared taxes for 13,256 taxpayers who received $25 million in refunds; 1,000 of those taxpayers committed to saving $1.6 million of their refunds.

About Greater Twin Cities United Way – Ranked as Minnesota’s largest nongovernmental social services funder, Greater Twin Cities United Way collaborates with business, government and nonprofit organizations to build pathways out of poverty by working in two areas – Safety Net and Education & Jobs. More than 715,000 people in the metro area live at or near poverty. Learn how to Give, Advocate, or Volunteer at https://www.gtcuw.org/. Find out about our free, 24-hour statewide multilingual information and referral service, United Way 2-1-1 at https://www.211unitedway.org/. Greater Twin Cities United Way serves Anoka, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Isanti, Ramsey, Scott and western Washington counties. For more information call (612) 340-7400.

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[News Release] Minnesota Leaders Celebrate 40 years of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

Statewide Claim it! campaign encourages eligible taxpayers to claim the credits they earned 

CONTACTS:                                                                

Taylor Putz
Prepare + Prosper
651-262-2160/Desk
920-904-4395/Cell

Marsha Pitts-Phillips
Greater Twin Cities United Way
612-340-7401/Desk
612-408-7828/Cell

TWIN CITIES – January 30 – This Saturday, Minnesota leaders including Congressman Keith Ellison, Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith, and Minnesota Department of Revenue Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly will speak with a recipient of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and non-profit leaders to raise awareness and highlight how vital the EITC is in lifting 300,000 Minnesotans out of poverty each year. The press conference will be held at a free tax preparation site where taxpayers making under $53,000 can get volunteer tax assistance.

According to the Brookings Institution, the EITC is considered the nation’s largest and most effective anti-poverty program but according to the IRS, one in five taxpayers is not claiming their EITC according to the IRS. Taxpayers who typically miss out are include those who are recently unemployed, living in rural areas, or are self-employed.

“More families are experiencing increasing financial pressures like lower wages and reduced hours,” said Congressman Keith Ellison. “Struggling households turn to the EITC to prevent them from falling into poverty.”

A family of three can receive up to $6,143 from the EITC if they worked in 2014. Eligibility for the EITC primarily depends upon the amount of earned income and the number of dependents. Families generally turn to the EITC only for as long as they need it and recipients use the EITC to pay for basic needs and start saving for the future. In 2014, over 344,000 Minnesotans claimed $723 million dollars from the EITC.

“The EITC and the state’s EITC called the Working Family Credit (WFC) are good for our families, communities, and economy,” says Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith. “Hardworking taxpayers who receive the EITC and WFC usually spend their money at the local level putting more money back into the Minnesota economy.”

Minnesota is one of 26 states that also have a state EITC. The average a Minnesota taxpayer received from the Working Family Credit in 2013 was $624.25. Combined with the federal EITC, they help families who work move out of poverty and build financial security.

“Tax season is incredibly important for so many low- and moderate-income families,” said Tracy Fischman, executive director of Prepare + Propser. “We call it a ‘money-moment’ because it’s likely the one time of year when people receive a large sum of money and can think about using it to save and get ahead.”

There are more than 250 free tax preparation sites in Minnesota. To locate a free tax preparation site, call United Way 2-1-1 by dialing 2-1-1 or 651-291-0211 or toll-free 1-800-543-7709; or visit www.youclaimit.org.
About Claim it!: Claim it!, managed by Prepare + Prosper and funded by the Greater Twin Cities United Way, is a statewide public awareness campaign created in 2006 that works with over 250 organizations to promote the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and free tax preparation for low- to-moderate income Minnesotans.

About Prepare + Prosper: Prepare + Prosper (formerly AccountAbility Minnesota) is a robust organization focused on poverty alleviation, financial capability, and economic mobility for low-income households. It does so by providing free tax and financial services, building the capacity of other organizations providing these services, and by utilizing its experiences to advance policies and practices that directly benefit the people it serves. In 2014, Prepare + Prosper enlisted the help of 569 volunteers who prepared taxes for 13,433 individuals who received a collective $24.3 million in refunds.

About Greater Twin Cities United Way: Greater Twin Cities United Way collaborates with business, government and nonprofit organizations to build pathways out of poverty. We LIVE UNITED to help children succeed, to stabilize families and empower healthy lives. Join our online discussions at www.unitedfrontmn.org, volunteer at United Way Caring Connection or give online at www.gtcuw.org. Greater Twin Cities United Way serves clients in Anoka, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Isanti, Ramsey, Scott and western Washington counties. For more information, go to www.gtcuw.org or call (612) 340-7400.

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