For further information, contact:
Larry Swabe, NC Council on Developmental Disabilities, 919-850-2901,
Roy Wallace, The Wallace Group, 877-832-4548 or roy@wallacegroup.com

 

NEW FREE TAX PREPARATION HELP IS AVAILABLE FOR PEOPLE
WITH DISABILITIES; MORE MAY QUALIFY FOR TAX CREDITS

Social security and disability support payments don’t count as income in figuring whether one qualifies for earned income tax credits, says NC disabilities advisor

As the April 15 deadline for filing individual tax returns approaches, North Carolina residents with disabilities should be aware that new tax preparation assistance is available to them, and that there may also be some new financial benefits.

“Many people with disabilities may not know about the resources available to them, including free tax preparation help in their communities, possible tax credits or deductions, and financial information,” said Karen Hamilton of the NC ADA Network, an initiative of the NC Council on Developmental Disabilities and Southeast ADA Center. “This could represent significant funds for some people with disabilities,” she said.

Hamilton suggests that there are three core resources to which people with disabilities and their families can turn: the Real Economic Impact Tour, or REI Tour; the NC Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC, and free tax preparation by certified volunteers at community tax preparation sites.

The REI Tour, a national initiative, offers a link to free Tax Tips, asset building strategies and no cost filing assistance to low-income people with disabilities online at www.realeconomicimpact.org/REI-Tour.aspx

Many state residents with disabilities may be eligible for the NC Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC. If an individual or family earned less than $48,362 in 2010, they may qualify for almost $6,000 between the federal and North Carolina EITC. People with disabilities may be eligible for the EITC even if they receive government benefits, whether it is Social Security, government assistance, unemployment benefits, child support or alimony. The latter are not considered earned income. Answers to questions about the EITC and people with disabilities is available at the EITC Carolinas website at www.eitc-carolinas.org

Certified volunteers will provide free tax preparation services at various sites in the community. To learn about free tax help in one’s area, North Carolinians, including those with disabilities and their families, should call 1-888-756-2463, or the United Way 2-1-1 helpline. It is recommended that tax filers avoid expensive ‘rapid refund’ loans, if possible.

Karen Hamilton learned about these resources through an asset development project funded by the NC Council on Developmental Disabilities and her involvement through the Council with the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites, known as VITA sites. She recently spoke at a national conference on “Making VITA Sites Accessible to People with Disabilities.” The National Disability Institute, the REI Tour and the IRS hosted the event, which was held at the National Mayors Leadership Academy in Chicago.

Free tax help