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Taking Credit

Baltimore is one of many cities around the country trying to get more families to apply for the federal earned income tax credit, an often-ignored refund that can be worth thousands of dollars. Created in 1975, the credit is available to families with more than one child and earning less that $33,178 annually, families with one child and earning less than $29,201, and individuals over 24 earning less than $11,060. Because so many people don't realize they qualify for the credit, the city will set up a network of free tax clinics to help eligible working people prepare their taxes. One of the sites will be The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

In previous years, eligible hospital employees received a letter notifying them about the federal rebate. But Hospital President Ronald Peterson stepped up Hopkins' participation after he learned that as much as $8.5 million went unclaimed each year by city residents. Peterson decided to offer the free tax preparation service to employees, who could receive refunds for as much as $4,100 this spring. But first, Human Resources is asking at least 50 managers to step forward as volunteer tax preparers to get the service up and running.

Pamela Paulk, Hopkins Hospital vice president of human resources, says volunteers don't need prior tax preparation experience and will be protected by the federal government from liability. They will be given a one-day training session in January and will be asked to work a minimum of 10 hours between Jan. 27 and March 15. Paulk says once the volunteers are trained, her department will notify eligible employees about the service and how to make appointments, which will be scheduled on one evening a week and Saturdays.

"This is the right thing to do," Paulk says. "This is money that could do so much good in the community. And the more volunteers we have, the more people we can help."

To volunteer, contact Nicole Dubé at 410-955-5164.

 

 

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