January 27, 2017

Whitehouse Urges Rhode Islanders to Find Out if They Qualify for Tax Break

Residents making $55,000 a year or less may be entitled to an earned income tax credit, free tax preparation

Providence, RI – Rhode Island residents who make $55,000 a year or less may be entitled to an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and free tax preparation.  Senator Sheldon Whitehouse today joined the Rhode Island Community Action Association, Providence Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Coalition, Citizens Bank, and the United Way of Rhode Island, among others, to launch a public awareness campaign at the Rhode Island State House promoting the EITC and free tax preparation. 

“The Earned Income Tax Credit can boost incomes for Rhode Islanders struggling with rising costs,” said Whitehouse.  “I’m grateful to the community action agencies, the Providence VITA Coalition, Citizens Bank, and the United Way for helping thousands of Rhode Islanders claim millions of dollars from this vital program.  I applaud and thank our excellent news organizations who are not shutting up and are helping get the word out about this program, so that families don’t lose money they qualify for.”

According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), about one in five who qualify for the EITC do not claim it.  The campaign will educate Rhode Islanders of the IRS’ EITC program and its benefits to hardworking individuals and families. 

“Preparing and filing taxes doesn’t have to be a stressful experience, and for the many Rhode Islanders who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), it can be a blessing. The EITC program makes a tremendous difference for those who need it most, and I’m grateful to these organizations for providing free tax preparation services so that more hardworking families can maximize their tax returns,” said Congressman Jim Langevin.

“The VITA/EITC Coalition plays an essential role in ensuring Rhode Island families have the resources they need to help make ends meet and, for many families, to escape poverty,” said Congressman David Cicilline. “Every year, this great partnership returns hard-earned money back to Rhode Island families. I want to thank all the partners in the coalition whose work ensures the success of these incredibly effective programs.”

In 2016, Earned Income Tax Credits combined with all other credits brought $16.7 million dollars to more than 14,000 residents in the state of Rhode Island through the free VITA Program administered by the Rhode Island Community Action Agencies and the Providence VITA Coalition.

“We’ve made progress over the last few years, helping hard-working Rhode Islanders keep more of what they earn by expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit,” Governor Gina Raimondo said. “It’s vitally important that families know about this credit so they can take advantage of it and put money back in their pockets. I’m thankful to the VITA program for offering this invaluable resource to working families.”

Joanne McGunagle is President/CEO of Comprehensive Community Action and Board Chair of the Rhode Island Community Action Association, whose member network serves more than 200,000 Rhode Islanders each year.

“The maximum tax credit savings a filer can be eligible for is $6,143,” says McGunagle, “we see working Rhode Islanders struggling every day to meet the needs of their families. The Earned Income Tax Credit is a resource working families can use to offset expenses and to save for the future.”  

The VITA Program, now in its thirteenth year, offers certified tax preparation volunteers at VITA sites throughout Rhode Island including the Providence VITA Coalition and eight member agencies of Rhode Island Community Action Association. United Way of Rhode Island has funded the VITA sites since 2004 and contributed $157,000 to the program’s twenty-four locations in Rhode Island this year. Information on site locations and free tax preparation is available to all tax filers by calling United Way’s toll-free helpline, 2-1-1.

“Citizens Bank is pleased to support the EITC public awareness program for the tenth year,” says Barbara Cottam, Rhode Island Market Executive, Citizens Bank.  “The tax credit benefits the hard working members of our community as well as the Rhode Island economy.  Last year this program brought $16.7 million back to the state with more than $6.5 million directly from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).”


Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921