The importance of Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) cannot be understated when it comes to poor and/or urban communities that sometimes find themselves to be financially challenged. The EITC is a refundable tax credit for working individuals and families who earns $54,000 or less a year.
Tax season is always challenging whether you make $1 million or $45,000 a year, which is why we put so much local emphasis on this program. For 16 years the Dayton Earned Income Tax Coalition—an initiative by former Commissioner Dean Lovelace working with Community Action Partnership—has helped our communities understand the EITC and get back as much money as possible.
In Dayton, Ohio we have taken the approach directly to the people. We collaborate with our community engagement department to ensure that we are reaching those who need these services most.
It all starts with partnerships with our local banks, county partners, and local community organizations that serve as financial and physical collaborators. Our financial partners include Huntington National Bank, KeyBank, PNC Bank, Wright-Patterson Credit Union, US Bank, Fifth Third, First Financial, Premier Health, and Waste Management. It is important to note that this service is FREE! This is a major part of the effort to make sure that there are trusted voices helping our citizens throughout the process and not those individuals at larger tax companies who sometimes take advantage of them.
[Download the resources in this toolkit to help you implement an EITC outreach campaign in your community.]
Last year, nearly 8,200 families participated in the Coalition’s 13 tax preparation sites, and those families received over $5.8 million in tax refunds.
This not only serves as money in their pockets, but then that money circulates through the community creating more opportunities for everyone.
At the end of it all though, none of this is possible without staff and volunteers who commit countless hours to this cause. We provided VITA tax training to 130 new volunteers, and to date, 64 have been certified to prepare taxes. We are proud to report there are 22 City of Dayton employees who are certified VITA tax preparers. We are only as strong as the individuals who take the time out to help their fellow citizens and that’s where we hang our hat as a region.
The Dayton City Commission, Mayor Nan Whaley, Commissioners Matt Joseph, Christopher Shaw, Daryl Fairchild and myself, Jeffrey Mims Jr., are committed to making sure that our community continues to grow and remains a place where people can raise a family. Through the EITC program we take one step closer to keeping that commitment.
About the Author:
Jeffrey J. Mims Jr. is an elected Commissioner on The City of Dayton’s City Commission. Currently, Jeff works with the mayor and fellow Commissioners to improve the quality of life for Dayton residents through his work on the following committees and boards: Dayton Active TV Board, Family and Children First Committee, Downtown Dayton Partnership and the Earned Income Tax Credit Committee. Additionally, Commissioner Mims co-chaired the Montgomery County Human Services levy and the Sinclair Community College levy. Commissioner Mims also leads President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Men of Color Initiative, in partnership with the City of Dayton, The United Way, and the Dayton Public Schools.