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Bloomberg Comes to Brooklyn to Tout Discount Tax Prep Options

Programs aimed at helping low-income tax filers get the most out of their 2011 tax returns.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg held a press conference today at the Capital One Bank in Downtown Brooklyn to kick off the ninth annual Tax Credit Campaign.

The mayor, joined by the Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz, the City’s Chief Service Officer Diahann Billings-Burford, and representatives from Capital One Bank, H&R Block, The Food Bank for New York City and Ariva, outlined a package of discount tax preparation options aimed at helping low-income tax filers get the most out of their 2011 income tax returns.

“This year we’ll put more than $2 billion back into the hands of New Yorkers, many of them hard-hit by the national recession and still struggling to put their financial lives back on solid ground,” said Bloomberg.

“I’m talking about, federal, state and city-earned income tax credits and also NYC childcare tax credits. These tax credits really do benefit all New Yorkers and, in turn, support neighborhood businesses and jobs.”

According to the mayor, last year’s tax credit campaign helped over 72,000 New Yorkers file their taxes for free and claim more than $117,000 million in tax credits and refunds.

This year, New Yorkers with children and incomes less than $41,000 and those with no children and incomes less than $31,000 can file their taxes online for free or visit a participating free tax assistance site.

H&R Block also is offering discounted tax preparation for $29 with a city-sponsored coupon.

“Since 2002, our city’s network of free and low-cost tax preparation options has helped New Yorkers collect more than $700 million in tax credits and refunds, and it has provided savings tools for those struggling to put their financial lives on solid ground,” said Bloomberg.

Also this week, the Department of Finance says they are mailing out $5.7 million dollars in amended tax returns to 7,000 New Yorkers.

“Tax and revenue agencies don’t often get the chance to administer a program where we tell people what we may owe them,” said Department of Finance Commissioner David M. Frankel in a written statement. “We are incredibly excited to continue this groundbreaking effort.”

The mayor also announced the launch of SaveUSA, an expansion of the city’s successful SaveNYC program that matches 50 cents for every tax refund dollar saved, up to an extra $500 a year.

According to Bloomberg, SaveNYC program last year accumulated more than $1.4 million in savings for New Yorkers from their tax returns. In the process, many of them established their first bank accounts ever.

The initiative was so successful, that with the Obama’s administration’s help, it has been re-christened as ‘SaveUSA,’ said Bloomberg.  

This year in New York City, SaveUSA – which is financed by a federal Social Innovation Fund grant awarded to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City – is being replicated in three other cities: Newark, San Antonio and Tulsa.

To download the $29 coupon for H&R Block, get more information on the SaveNYC program and identify locations to file free, visit the nyc.gov.

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