Jun 6, 2006
Press Release

NASHVILLE - Nashville's community-wide Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) effort and free tax assistance sites paid off this tax season - to the tune of $8.6 million in federal refunds for area taxpayers and the local economy.

More than 5,900 Nashville families received free tax help at one of twelve tax prep sites around the city during the 2006 tax season, according to the Nashville Wealth Building Alliance (NWBA). That number represents a 28% increase in tax returns filed at the ten free tax sites last year.

"I'm pleased that more Nashville families were able to claim the federal refunds they earned this year," U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, a member of NWBA, said. "This means more money is returning to the hard-working taxpayers who earned it and more money is being saved or invested in the Nashville economy."

The coalition of government, non-profits, churches and businesses works together to help area families build financial stability and take advantage of the EITC. From January through April 15, 2006, 165 IRS-trained volunteers provided over 2,500 hours of free tax assistance to working families across Nashville. The average federal refund was $1,692 for those who filed at the free tax preparation sites.

Of the nearly 6,000 taxpayers who filed at a free tax prep site, 613 had not filed their taxes in the previous year. Additionally, 1,087 of the tax filers had used a paid service to prepare their taxes for them in 2005.

NWBA attributes the increase in participation to the numerous companies and organizations that took an active role in educating their employees about the free tax help and the EITC refund. In addition, NWBA's partnership with United Way's 2-1-1 hotline played a key role in helping taxpayers find the tax prep site closest to them.

Along with United Way of Metropolitan Nashville, the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, the State of Tennessee, the Tennessee Department of Revenue, the Internal Revenue Service and Congressman Cooper, key support for the NWBA and the EITC effort came from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, the Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions, SunTrust Bank and Wachovia.

The EITC has become an increasingly important part of the U.S. tax code since it was launched in 1975 under President Nixon. It is now considered one of the most successful anti-poverty programs ever developed, lifting nearly 5 million people above the poverty line every year. It is a refundable federal income tax credit that can provide substantial benefits - up to $4,400 to qualified filers in tax year 2006, depending on income, family size and marital status.