“It’s a lot of money put into the hands of workers:” SDC offers free tax assistance programs

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MILWAUKEE -- For many people, filling out your tax return can be a daunting, confusing process. But for low income families in Milwaukee County, there are a number of resources to help sift through all those forms.

Social Development Commission

Social Development Commission

“A lot of the families don’t know where to go," said financial coach Coretta Herring, with the Social Development Commission. "And how to connect to the services that they need.”

In a news conference Friday morning, officials including Mayor Tom Barrett stressed the benefits of the Social Development Commission’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, or VITA.tax-assistance3

“There are volunteers at this site," Barrett said. "And at other sites in the city of Milwaukee, who will help them fill out their taxes.”

Tom Barrett

Tom Barrett

VITA has multiple locations open through the week, throughout the city. Now in its 16th season, the program has filed more than 176,000 free returns, and put more than $185 million back into the pockets of taxpayers.

"It’s a lot of money put into the hands of workers," IRS representative Sheila Siegel said. "Who may be struggling to make ends meet.”

A particular financial boost is the Earned Income Tax Credit, which you may be eligible for if your family made less than $54,000 last year.tax-assistance2

“The average Earned Income Tax Credit is over $2,400 for a family," said Siegel. "That can be the single-most, biggest amount of money that these workers are getting at one time during the year.”

“I call this the most constructive type of welfare, if you will," Barrett stated. "Because it’s helping people who are working, who are trying to help themselves.”tax-assistance5