Close up of 1040 Federal tax form and $20 bills.

CITY COUNCIL APPROVES BILL TO HELP PHILADELPHIANS COLLECT MORE THAN $600 MILLION IN TAX REFUNDS

In Allan Domb, Council News, News by PHL Council

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Councilmember Domb’s bill requires the City, its businesses and related payroll companies to inform employees of refund dollars available with their tax filings

PHILADELPHIA – Councilmember Allan Domb today commended his colleagues for unanimously passing his bill that will require employers and payroll services to notify all employees in Philadelphia about the various tax refund programs. The legislation is aimed at city government to do its part to help low- to moderate-income working Philadelphians collect the more than $600 million they are owed.

“This is a collaborative effort to take every step we can to help put money back into the hands of residents who need it most,” said Councilmember Domb. “We want to educate our businesses and payroll service companies about all the refunds that might be available to those they employ and serve. I commend my colleagues and the Administration for taking part in this effort.”

The legislation will update the digital form created by the City, known as the Tax Liability Reduction Eligibility Notice, and it will provide clearly understandable language about the benefits of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit and the City’s Wage Tax Refund. It will include a description for each program of the eligibility requirements, credit or refund available, application process and services available from the City to assist in applying for the benefits along with relevant contact information.

The City will notify employers of the new requirements through public postings and outreach. City Council and the Mayor’s Administration will work to get the notice out prior to this year’s tax filing deadline. Moving forward, employers will be required to provide the new Tax Liability Reduction Eligibility Notice to employees in Philadelphia by Feb. 15 annually regardless of the employee’s tax status.

“More than a hundred million dollars is left on the table each year by tens of thousands of eligible Philadelphians who did not file for the tax refunds,” said Councilmember Domb. “We cannot continue leaving this money on the table – unspent. If we truly want to help our city’s struggling families, let’s start by getting more people signed up for the very programs we’ve already created in this body and in the federal government by ensuring they’re made aware of what’s available to them.”

The success of these tax refund programs is well documented and access to this money can be better supported by the City, employers and payroll companies by informing taxpayers of the programs each tax season. The EITC provides for the greatest tax refund up to $6,700 per return. About 40,000 of the total 230,000 Philadelphians eligible for EITC do not file for the refund, leaving more than $100 million sitting in Washington, D.C. every year.

The Campaign for Working Families, Inc., a non-profit organization committed to helping working families and individuals achieve economic empowerment by providing free tax preparation, resource building and asset development, is one of the city’s leading community providers helping Philadelphians receive the money they are earned.

“Campaign for Working Families supports Councilmember Domb’s efforts to put money back in the pockets of people who need these refunds the most,” said Mary Arthur, President and CEO,

Campaign for Working Families, Inc. “The only way to access these credits and refunds is by filing your current tax return and CWF stands in partnership with the city to support our most vulnerable families by providing free tax preparation services.”

Councilman Domb has made it his mission to make sure that all Philadelphians know about their potential eligibility for tax refunds.

“In a city where so many families live in poverty and struggle to pay their bills or put food on their tables, money from these tax refund programs has the potential to make a real difference,” said Councilmember Domb.

The legislation will also require certain internal reporting obligations on the implementation and uptake of the program. The legislation was cosponsored by Councilmembers Gauthier, Gilmore Richardson, Green, Gym, Thomas, and Brooks.

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