FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 28, 2008
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND UNITED WAY OF NYC REMIND SOCIAL SECURITY RECIPIENTS, VETERANS AND LOW-INCOME WORKERS ABOUT ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGE
Low-income people who are not normally required to file federal returns are reminded that they may be eligible for $300 or more in "stimulus payments" - but only if they file their taxes
Mayor Bloomberg, the Internal Revenue Service, and the United Way of New York City are reminding recipients of Social Security payments and veterans' benefits, as well as low-income New Yorkers whose income does not require them to file taxes, that they may be eligible to receive $300 or more from this year's federal economic stimulus package-but only if they file federal tax returns. The IRS and United Way are partnering with City agencies and community based organizations to help remind New Yorkers of the importance of filing tax returns. Only people with valid Social Security numbers and who show a qualifying income of at least $3,000 are eligible. In addition to the City's 50 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites, where New Yorkers can find out about tax credits from the City and State, the IRS will open eight free tax-preparation sites throughout the City tomorrow, Saturday, March 29th, to assist those New Yorkers who would not normally need to file taxes in completing their federal tax returns only.
"We want to help New Yorkers keep more of their hard-earned money and this year, it's particularly important that all New Yorkers file their taxes because those with lower incomes stand to gain not only tax benefits such as the Earned Income Credit, but also the federal rebates," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Those with the least means often have the most to gain from these programs, and we want to be sure they capitalize on them. That's why the City agencies are working together to help New Yorkers complete their federal tax returns and claim all the tax benefits available to them."
"We don't want any Americans to miss out on their economic stimulus payment," said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. "For millions of Americans, filing a tax return is not routine. Their income is either too low or not taxable. But this year, filing a 2007 tax return is the only way to receive an economic stimulus payment. Super Saturday is one way the IRS and its partners are working to ensure everyone eligible receives a stimulus payment,"
Eight agencies including the Department of Finance, the Human Resources Administration, the Department for the Aging, the New York City Housing Authority, the Mayor's Office of Veteran Affairs, City University of New York, the Department of Consumer Affairs and its Office of Financial Empowerment and the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications have partnered together to inform New Yorkers that if they don't file their taxes they may miss out on this federal benefit. Agencies have used a variety of methods, including adding informational links to City websites, distributing flyers, fact sheets and conducting large-scale targeted mailings. In addition, the Human Resources Administration is reaching out to public assistance recipients who otherwise may not have filed a tax return this year. The City University of New York also assisting in these efforts through extended outreach to students and University affiliates.
Coupled with City efforts, United Way is sending a series of emails to several hundred social services agencies, and this week convened and hosted two roundtable discussions to help mobilize community-based organizations from around the city-one with the Human Services Council, which represents the city's leading federations and the other with the Council of Senior Centers and Services of New York City. The IRS and representatives from the Department for the Aging and the Department of Consumer Affairs also participated.
"It is so important that an estimated 560,000 New Yorkers who receive Social Security payments, veterans' benefits or both, along with certain low-income workers and others who are not normally required to file federal income tax returns, do so this year, especially because they have money coming to them that they certainly need and must not forego," said Gordon J. Campbell, President and CEO of United Way of New York City. "This year they must file with the IRS, but they can easily get free help with that. It would be unfortunate for people with such low incomes to miss out, either because they are unaware that they are eligible or that payments are not automatic and that you have to file. Also, they need to know that there are many places to go for assistance."
The IRS and several nonprofit partners are opening a number of sites this Saturday, March 29th, "Super Saturday," where taxpayers can get assistance in completing their federal tax returns:
Individuals who wish to file a federal return this year in order to receive a stimulus payment can also take advantage of thousands of free tax preparation sites nationwide for low-income and elderly taxpayers. For further information about whether you are eligible call 311 or the IRS hotline at 1-866-234-2942. A list of these free tax assistance centers in New York City can be found online at www.nyc.gov or by calling 311. Most of the free tax assistance sites are likely to close after April 15th but people may file their returns through October 15th, 2008 to get the stimulus payment
Stu Loeser / Evelyn Erskine (212) 788-2958