Brooklyn Community Foundation Teams With Bank, Food Program

FULTON MALL -- A free tax preparation center has opened in Downtown Brooklyn to provide significant financial assistance to low-wage working families and individuals and to give a multi-million dollar boost to New York’s economy.

The Brooklyn Community Foundation has partnered with Capital One Bank and Food Bank For New York City to enable qualified working families to take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) benefit, which has been called the nation’s largest poverty-reduction program. Qualifying taxpayers may receive EITC refunds of up to $7,637 per family when they file their taxes for 2009 with the average refund last year of $2,700.

Many individuals are not aware of the EITC benefit, according to the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), and paid tax preparers often neglect to provide necessary documents to claim the credit. The result is that an estimated 150,000 New York City residents forfeit millions of dollars in qualified tax refunds every year, according to the city agency.

Borough President Marty Markowitz joined DCA Commissioner Jonathan Mintz, Food Bank For New York City’s Vice Presidents Carlos Rodriguez, and Capital One’s Brooklyn Market President B.J. Duffy at a press conference Thursday at the Downtown Brooklyn site to bring attention to the service.

“Hardworking Brooklynites deserve each and every penny that they have coming to them, which is why I want every one of them to know about the Earned Income Tax Credit. By spreading the word, the Brooklyn Community Foundation, Capital One Bank, and Food Bank For New York City aren’t just helping taxpayers – they’re helping our city’s economy,” said New York City Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz.

“With more than half a million people living below the poverty line, Brooklynites have been hard hit by the current economic crisis. The Earned Income Tax Credit is one way that working people can put money back into their pockets and also into the local economy,” said Marilyn Gelber, president of the Brooklyn Community Foundation.

The free tax preparation service is hosted by Capital One Bank in its Fulton Mall location at 356 Fulton St., and is open weekdays and Saturdays until mid-April. For more information call 311 or visit nyc.gov/consumers.