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Agency Promotes Awareness of Earned Income Tax Credit 

Ready or not, it’s tax season, and volunteers at the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee office are already hard at work preparing returns for residents who want to get a jump on the April 18 deadline.

Barbara Kelly and Marie Alcorn

During Friday’s annual Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day gathering at the L.T. Ross Building, CAC Executive Director Barbara Kelly (above, left, with Marie Alcorn of United Way of Greater Knoxville) told the crowd that in 2016, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) volunteers assisted 2,696 residents with their 2015 returns, generating more than $3 million in refunds and saving filers more than $674,000 in tax-prep costs (based on an average of $250 per return).

Mayor Rogero presented a proclamation to CAC Management Services Director Sue Campbell acknowledging Jan. 27 as Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day and its importance in putting money back in the pockets of working people.

Mayor Rogero presents proclamation

The IRS estimates that only four out of five U.S. workers receive the earned income tax credit they’ve earned, which is why CAC, in partnership with the IRS, United Way of Greater Knoxville, Legal Aid, Centro Hispano and others, makes a concerted effort to educate Knox-area workers about the tax credit and the free and confidential tax-preparation services available to them until April. To qualify, workers must have taxable income from working for someone or from running a business or farm.

At the close of the event, United Way’s Marie Alcorn announced a new local initiative to increase residents’ access to financial services. Bank On is a nationwide program facilitated by cities, community organizations and banks to help low-income workers open bank accounts and access financial services. Close to 7 percent of U.S. households are “unbanked,” without a checking or savings account. Maybe you can relate: you don’t have enough money to meet a bank’s minimum balance requirements, or you get paid irregularly and incur overdraft fees when your balance dips for a day or two, or your credit rating isn’t so great because of some missed Visa card payments. In these situations, people without bank accounts end up spending even more money at check-cashing institutions, pawn shops or payday loan providers — just to access their own money.

Chris Parrott of Regions Bank attended the event and said how excited she was for the Bank On program to take off in Knoxville; Regions is a partner in the United Way-driven Bank On programs in Memphis and Nashville.

Additional information about the Bank On program is forthcoming and will be available online at http://www.knoxcac.org/ or by calling CAC at 865-546-3500. 

Posted by ptravis On 27 January, 2017 at 5:13 PM