Congressman Charles B. Rangel, City Council members Inez E. Dickens, Robert Jackson, Melissa Mark-Viverito and Ydanis Rodriguez and New York Assemblymen Adriano Espaillat, Danny O’Donnell and Keith LT Wright were among the several elected leaders Friday that urged New Yorkers not to let a moment go by without claiming every single tax benefit that their hard work had entitled them to on their 2009 taxes — especially the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Sponsored by Congressman Rangel and passed in 1975 on a bipartisan basis, the EITC is the federal government’s largest benefits program for working families and one of the nation’s most powerful anti-poverty programs.
“It’s hard to believe, but each year, millions of Americans — an estimated 5-7 million nationwide and close to 20,000 in Northern Manhattan alone — miss out on getting money that they are entitled to,” said Rangel, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and Dean of the New York Congressional delegation.
To spread the word about the EITC and available free tax preparation services, Rangel and a number of community and elected officials will host a press conference on Monday, Feb. 1st at 10:00 a.m. at the Community Kitchen & Food Pantry of West Harlem (252 W 116 Street ), one of the VITA sites run by Food Bank For New York City.
A Much-Needed Well-Earned Boost To Hardworking Taxpayers.
Rangel noted that many people will qualify for EITC for the first time this year because of both the expanded eligibility brought forth by last year’s American Reinvestment and Recovery Act and personal circumstances (a decline in income, change in marital status or the birth of a child). So, Rangel encouraged anyone who earned $48,279 or less from wages, self-employment or farming in 2009 to see if they qualify either by going to going to his House Web site at http://rangel.house.gov or visiting one of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites scattered throughout the 15th Congressional District and across the city.
Inez E. Dickens, the newly appointed Assistant Deputy Majority Leader of the City Council, said that there was no reason for New Yorkers not to claim what they are entitled to receive.
“Congressman Rangel and I strongly urge all who may qualify to take advantage of this opportunity,” said Dickens, “This not a hand out, it is a HAND UP. You work hard, you have earned this tax credit so don’t lose this opportunity to help yourself, your family, and your loved ones.”
“The EITC is a valuable resource for working families, especially during these tough economic times,” said Assemblyman Keith LT Wright. “For many, it provides the financial breathing room they need to make ends meet”
New York State Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat said that he was proud to stand by Rangel and other leaders in fighting to ensure that communities received tall of the benefits provided by our tax system.
A champion of the disadvantage and working class families, Congressman Rangel continues to provide strong leadership for all the community he represents,” said Assemblyman Espaillat. ” I join the Congressman in his effort o spread the word about the EITC and available free tax preparation services.”
“E. I. T. C! It sounds like a high school cheer – and it really is something to cheer about!,” said City Councilmember Robert Jackson. “I’m proud to join Congressman Rangel in getting the word out about this helpful program.”
“The EITC program has become one of the most important vehicles to help lift working families out of poverty. We need to do everything possible to ensure that those eligible are getting the assistance they deserve,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez.
City Council member Melissa Mark-Viverito urged moderate wage earners to file and not pass up the opportunity to claim it this important benefit.
“Unfortunately, too many of our constituents are not aware of this vital benefit,” said City Council member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I applaud Congressman Rangel in providing this opportunity to continue in our efforts to educate our constituency in finding some tax relief through this credit.
Assemblyman O’Donnell agreed.
“Thousands of New Yorkers may not even be aware that they qualify for these credits which can be claimed simply by filing a tax return,” said Assemblyman O’Donnell. “I encourage individuals and families to utilize the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program sites which prepare and e-file taxes free of charge and make connections to other important financial programs and benefits.”
“Its not just free money, it’s your money,” reiterated Rangel. “All you have to do now is just claim it.”