PHILADELPHIA – April 27, 2017 – City Council today unanimously passed a bill to expand the notice provisions and reach of the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Bill No. 170245, introduced by Councilman Allan Domb (At Large), requires businesses to inform all eligible employees and contractors about the EITC program when they distribute W-2 or 1099s. This would apply to workers or contractors who are employed in the city, whether they reside in the city or in the surrounding counties.
Additionally, the bill increases the disclosure of reporting requirements by the City so that Council can better track the outreach efforts and effectiveness of this program.
The Earned Income Tax Credit is a benefit for individuals aged 25 to 65, or who have a child, and earn less than $53,505. The refundable credit is worth up to $6,269 per income tax return.
Councilman Allan Domb made EITC a priority for his time in office. In previous years, around 188,000 Philadelphians received an EITC refund, but at least 40,000 eligible Philadelphia families had not applied for the federal tax credit, therefore leaving millions of dollars in Washington, rather than coming back into their households and into the city’s economy.
“As an elected official it is my number one goal to make sure that all Philadelphians and suburban residents receive all moneys available to them from the federal government,” said Councilman Allan Domb about the passage of the EITC legislation and the importance of the credits. “My second goal is to make sure they receive any moneys from the state government they’re entitled to. Our last resort should be taxation on a municipal level,” Domb said.
The Councilman introduced the legislation to strengthen a previous EITC bill passed by Council. He also helped establish The Domb Center, donating Center City office space to the Campaign for Working Families in order to help those in need with their taxes. The Campaign for Working Families operates 19 free tax centers throughout Philadelphia with additional sites in the region.
This year nearly 22,000 Philadelphia residents received tax preparation assistance from the Campaign for Working Families in Philadelphia.
They were able to claim more than $10.2 million of EITC credits for the 2016 tax year. More than $1.1M of those EITC credits were claimed from people who filed through the Domb Center. The Campaign for Working Families reports an increase of more than 5.5 % in EITC filings over tax year 2015 when $9.1 million was claimed.
“We are most appreciative for the wonderful dedication provided by Councilman Allan Domb who worked tirelessly to promote the economic benefits gained through the Earned Income Tax Credit,” said Mary Arthur, executive director for Campaign for Working Families. “This advocacy helps put more money directly into the pockets of lower income citizens throughout the City of Philadelphia and beyond,” Arthur said. Arthur called Councilman Domb “A champion for the mission of economic empowerment of individuals and working families.”
EITC is a benefit that people can file retroactively up to three years for the credit. If one has already filed a 2016 return, he/she could seek to amend returns and file back through 2014.
People can find out if they are eligible by visiting www.YouEarnedItPhilly.com
In addition to requiring employers to disseminate EITC info to their workers, the legislation passed in Council today ensures that the city’s finance director would submit to Council, together with the Mayor’s proposed operating budget ordinance, an EITC Policy Implementation report. The report, which will be posted on the City’s website, will outline steps to identify and contact all EITC-eligible persons living or working in the City of Philadelphia. It would also list the most recently available data on the number of Philadelphia residents receiving EITC, as well as how many are eligible and the gap between the two numbers.
The EITC Policy Implementation Manual would also detail financial expenditures made toward implementing the City’s EITC Policy. This would include marketing and advertising, tax preparation sites, public relations and other professional services.
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Councilman Allan Domb is serving his first term as an At-Large member of Philadelphia City Council. He is chair of Council’s Committee on Housing, Neighborhood Development and the Homeless. More information at phlcouncil.com/AllanDomb