Low-Income Residents Can Take Advantage of Millions in Tax Incentives;
City Seeks Volunteer Finance Professionals to Help with Program

Lansing Mayor Tony Benavides will join Jill Rhode, Lansing City Treasurer; Douglas Stites, Capital Area Michigan Works! Chief Executive Officer; Susan Cocciarelli, Specialist of the Center for Urban Affairs at Michigan State University; and David Wiener, Mayoral Executive Assistant, in announcing plans to coordinate a community-wide low-income tax assistance program beginning at 4 p.m. today, Tuesday, February 18 in the lobby of Lansing City Hall, located at 124 W. Michigan Ave. in downtown Lansing.

“In my State of the City address, I highlighted my goal of assisting low income families with income tax filing, and I’m delighted to begin that initiative here today,” said Mayor Benavides.  “I know that these are difficult times for low income families, and I celebrate the efforts of Capital Area Michigan Works!, which just received status as a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site, allowing more Lansing residents to receive help with their taxes.  With the help of Capital Area Michigan Works! and volunteers from the financial community, we’ll be able to ease the burden of tax season.”

Lansing’s Low-Income Tax Assistance Program hopes to begin helping low-income Lansing-area residents file their tax returns next year, using a network of preexisting resources, such as the VITA program, and a number of volunteers from the financial community willing to donate their time, such as Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), bank representatives, and tax professionals.

“Capital Area Michigan Works! is dedicated to helping low-income individuals and families in the Lansing area file their taxes, and it’s my hope that this program will make a great impact on the financial health of the entire Lansing community,” said Stites.

“Each year, millions of dollars in tax incentives for working families go unclaimed simply because people don’t know they exist,” said Rhode.  “Programs like these will help ensure those funds are directed back to those individuals eligible to use them, which only strengthens the local economy.  We’re looking for financial professionals willing to donate their time to help fellow Lansing residents complete their tax returns.”

“Several tax incentives are available to help hardworking individuals and families in the Lansing area keep more of their income and increase their spending power, which positively affects the local economy for all Lansing area residents,” said Rhode.

To volunteer for Lansing’s Low-Income Tax Assistance Program, or for more information, contact the Lansing City Treasurer’s Office at 483-4121.

February 23, 2003 – March 8 , 2003 Edition