Mike Duggan
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan joined with a coalition of community agencies Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, for a news conference to discuss an effort to educate and assist residents with claiming tax credits. (screenshot)

Detroiters have access to volunteer help and free expert tax preparation through a coalition of community partners working to ensure residents understand and take advantage of federal tax credits. 

Mayor Mike Duggan joined Thursday with the Accounting Aid Society, United Way for Southeast Michigan, Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency, University of Michigan’s Poverty Solutions and Community Development Advocates of Detroit, to mark the start of the 2023 income tax season and urge residents to take advantage of all eligible credits. 

“There is a lot of money Detroit families are entitled to that they can use to save, invest, buy a car or fix their home, but you have to file your taxes to receive the refunds,” Duggan said in a Thursday news release. “The City and its partners are going to make sure every Detroiter has the help they need to file their taxes, especially if they haven’t filed in the past.”

There are several cash payments available to Detroit families, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit, but residents must file their taxes to claim them. Those who don’t typically file taxes or who didn’t earn much in 2022, might still qualify for the payments. 

As of Thursday, residents can call 2-1-1- or visit getthetaxfacts.org to learn more and schedule an appointment. 

Residents earning less than $60,000 qualify for an expert tax preparation appointment at no cost. For the 2023 tax season, the Accounting Aid Society and Wayne Metro are returning to primarily in-person tax preparation services. Drop-and-go and all-virtual services will also be available.

As a result of the coalition’s work in 2022, Detroiters claimed more than $260 million in EITC refunds, plus millions more in Child Tax Credits. Prior to 2017, EITC-eligible Detroiters left an estimated $80 million of potential tax refunds unclaimed each year.

Residents are eligible for the Child Tax Credit if they have children under 17 living in their home and earned at least $2,500 from working in 2022. The children must have a valid Social Security Number.

This year, the Child Tax Credit will return to 2019 levels, which will be between $1,500 to $2,000 per dependent.

“This is an important time of year for households who are working hard to make ends meet,” added H. Luke Shaefer, the Hermann and Amalie Kohn professor of social justice and social policy and faculty director of the University of Michigan’s Poverty Solutions. “Tax refunds help families pay down debt, invest in car repairs, and all the other things they need. We all benefit when families can access these resources.”

The EITC is available to working families and individuals who meet certain income criteria. The refund amount depends on income, filing status and the number of qualifying children claimed on tax returns. 

For example, a working, single individual with no children who earns less than $16,480 per year  could get back as much as $594. A married couple with three or more children who files a joint return, with a combined income of less than $59,187, could receive the maximum EITC of $7,351. 

EITC provides extra income to workers with low to moderate incomes of up to $60,000.

Adults and children must have a Social Security Number to apply for the EITC.

The coalition is hoping to assist groups at the greatest risk of missing out, including first-time parents, non-traditional families where biological parents are not the primary caregivers, families that don’t earn much income or typically file taxes and families with limited English proficiency, limited education and limited social services connections. 

The effort offers hundreds of staff and volunteers and is being assisted with funding and support from the Skillman, Kresge and W.K. Kellogg foundation and Ballmer Group.

“It’s important to work with a certified preparer to maximize tax credits such as the home heating credit and dependent care,” said Louis D. Piszker, Wayne Metro Chief Executive Officer, adding that during the tax appointments residents can also discuss property taxes, water and energy assistance and resources for financial counseling, debt and credit repair. 

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