NORTHVILLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The Michigan Credit Union League is encouraging credit unions to participate in the state’s Outreach Effort for Earned Income Tax Credit. The EITC provides tax breaks to working low-income people. Credit unions can help by becoming a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site, partnering with an existing VITA site, providing educational programs about EITC, and having information available for members. “Tax refunds must be e-filed and automatically deposited, expanding credit unions’ opportunities to serve this segment of their communities,” the league notes. MCUL VP/Communications Doris Brown explains the league was contacted by the Michigan State University Cooperative Extension Service encouraging the MCUL to become involved. NCUA and the Internal Revenue Service are other partners in the program. The EITC program isn’t exactly chump change. In fact, at a statewide kickoff meeting, economist Scott Darragh from the Michigan Department of Treasury Office of Revenue and Tax Analysis stated, “Only Medicaid and Social Security income provide more in benefits than EITC, as of 2000 statistics.” The MCUL took on the job of getting information out to credit unions. The outreach program can train credit union staff to help with EITC, or a credit union can simply make space available to someone with that training. “It fits right in with credit union efforts on financial literacy,” Brown says. “People may go to another entity and pay to have those tax refund checks cashed. A credit union can explain membership and the availability of share accounts and other products.”

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