Budish and EITC Coalition Announce 2016 Tax Program Brought $22.8 Million in Refunds to County Residents

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Donisha Greene, (216) 443-7075; dgreene@cuyahogacounty.us

A 25% increase from last year

Cleveland, OH – Underscoring his commitment to fostering prosperity for all, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish and Cuyahoga Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Coalition led by Enterprise Community Partners Ohio released results for the 2015-tax year free tax preparation services as part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program.

Hundreds of Coalition volunteers donated time to prepare 15,684 tax returns totaling $22,845,153 in refunds, representing an increase of $4.6 million, or 25%, over last year’s results. An average taxpayer put an extra $1400 in his pocket as a result of this program. Out of these returns, 4,973 residents were able to claim a total of $7,437,750 in EITC refunds that many use for housing-related costs, such as rent, utilities, and other basic household needs.

"It's critical for county government to do all we can for our residents,” said County Executive Budish. “Helping people recover $22.8 million in tax refunds, especially for middle and low income families, can make a world of difference. In these difficult times, an extra $1400 goes a long way to pay for utilities, food, rent, and other basic needs. By increasing our returns by 25%, the real winners in this program are the county's taxpayers."

The success of the EITC coalition depends upon collaboration across a large group businesses, organizations and volunteers. This continuum of support is one of the largest in the state of Ohio, making Cuyahoga County a leader in EITC services. Strategic partnerships include Famicos Foundation, Cleveland Housing Network, Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization, Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People (ESOP), and Burten, Bell, Carr Development Inc.

“Our support of the Coalition helps the Enterprise Ohio team achieve its goal of connecting low and moderate income families with opportunities that work to reduce housing insecurity,” said Mark McDermott, Vice President and Market Leader, Enterprise Ohio. “Not only do these valuable tax refunds and credits assist with housing- related costs, but these families are able to avoid tax preparation fees, as well. The program also has the added benefit of returning millions of dollars back into the local economy.”

Taxpayers who earned less than $53,267 annually were eligible to participate. Tax returns were prepared and filed free of charge by IRS-certified tax preparation volunteers, who also notified taxpayers if they qualify for certain federal tax benefits, including the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit.

For more information on the Cuyahoga EITC Coalition, including volunteer opportunities and program participation for 2016-tax year, please visit www.refundohio.org or contact: Kathy Matthews at (216) 631.0280 ext. 4124.