FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 17, 2019
NEARLY 2,000 RESIDENTS AND NEW YORKERS WITH LOW INCOMES FILE TAXES FOR FREE AT NYCHA LOCATIONS
Since 2014, this annual program has grown to connect thousands of NYCHA residents and other lower-income New Yorkers to free, safe, and convenient tax preparation services at select NYCHA locations across the city.
NEW YORK – Today, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) – in partnership with the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP), the Food Bank For New York City, and Citi – announced the results of this year's NYCHA Free Tax Preparation program.
NYCHA's Office of Resident Economic Empowerment and Sustainability (REES), in partnership with 12 community-based organizations, helped over 1,800 NYCHA residents and lower-income New Yorkers file their tax returns for free. This year, combined refunds for filers was $1.6 million. As part of the Authority's Free Tax Preparation program, there were over 20 free tax prep sites across the City at NYCHA developments, community centers, and Jobs-Plus locations.
"Thousands of families across the five boroughs participated in our Free Tax Preparation program this year and received the refunds they deserve thanks to the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, the Food Bank For New York City, Citi, and other partner organizations," said NYCHA Interim Chair and CEO Kathryn Garcia. "These refunds continue to make a real difference in the lives of our residents and other lower-income families across the City."
"We thank NYCHA, Food Bank, and Citi for their continued support of NYC Free Tax Prep," said DCWP Commissioner Lorelei Salas. "Hardworking New Yorkers deserve to keep every penny of their tax refund, and it is partners like these who have helped New Yorkers file more than one million returns for free since 2008 and claim refund-boosting tax credits that can be pivotal in helping them pay bills, reduce debt, and save for their future."
"Tax season provides eligible working New Yorkers with the opportunity to benefit from programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit, which often is the largest cash infusion families receive each year. Yet on average, one in five filers who are eligible are missing out on this important credit, or go to paid preparers and spend hundreds of dollars to access it," said Gregory Schiefelbein, New York Tri-State Market Director, Citi Community Development. "This year by supporting NYC Free Tax Prep in NYCHA locations across the city, we helped enable more residents to access free, high-quality tax prep services and gain the full value of the credits they've earned."
Thanks to the Authority's successful Free Tax Preparation program, residents earning $55,000 per year or less filed state and federal taxes for free with trusted, IRS-certified Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (VITA/TCE) volunteer preparers. The program is administered at sites that serve job seekers, providing a critical financial support to those who are unemployed.
The Food Bank For New York City has partnered with the Authority and DCWP to help NYCHA public housing residents, NYCHA Section 8 voucher holders, and other lower-income New Yorkers at no cost since 2014, and with support from Citi since 2015.
NYC Free Tax Prep, which is coordinated by DCWP, increases awareness about tax credits that put money back in the pockets of working New Yorkers and helps qualifying New Yorkers file their taxes online and at sites throughout the city for free. The filing deadline (Tax Day) was April 15, 2019. However, New Yorkers can still file their 2018 tax return for free at an NYC Free Tax Prep site or online through October 15, if they meet income requirements. For more information about NYC Free Tax Prep, visit nyc.gov/taxprep or call 311.
"Goodwill NYNJ Jobs-Plus program in the Bronx has provided free tax preparation for residents of the Clason Point, Sack Wern and Monroe NYCHA developments for six years to help eligible New Yorkers claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)," said Katy Gaul-Stigge, Goodwill NYNJ President & CEO. "Over 164 members of this community have connected to jobs and double that number to the supports, like tax prep, that Jobs-Plus provides to ensure that every earned dollar stays in the members of these communities own pockets."
"Henry Street Settlement is grateful to have partnered with NYCHA and the Food Bank For New York City to offer essential tax-prep services to our community this year," said Henry Street Settlement Executive Director David Garza. "Through this program, we were able to provide hundreds of low-income participants in the Henry Street Settlement workforce development program and in the community with critical support in filing their taxes. This assistance means that hardworking New Yorkers are treated equitably in the tax system and able to get back any funds and credits to which they're entitled by law, to meet their essential needs."
“Restoration is grateful for the continued support of the Food Bank For New York City and are happy to provide free tax preparation for NYCHA residents and New Yorkers as a whole,” said Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation Tax Program Organizer and Program Manager Idesta Serverin. “The support enables us to deliver services that help clients save over $400 dollars per year in tax preparation costs. This allows our clients to create an emergency fund and save for their future. Our year round program provides continued support for our communities financial dreams and goals.”
"Having an accessible, convenient way to file their taxes — and at no cost to them — made a positive difference to the 1,800 NYCHA tenants who were able to take advantage of this program and, in many cases, receive valuable refunds," said Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, Chair of the Assembly's Housing Committee. "I'm pleased that NYCHA made this important service available for so many hardworking families and individuals."