Special to the AmNews

Saturday, Jan. 31, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration launched the biggest earned tax credit campaign in the city’s history. The campaign is a result of Commissioner of Consumer Affairs Julie Menin’s first ever Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day of Action. Menin was joined on the day of outreach by more than 2,000 volunteers, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, state Sen. Liz Krueger and “Law and Order: SVU” star Tamara Tunie.

According to Menin, there are more than 250,000 New Yorkers eligible for an EITC but are not currently taking it. That means these community members are missing out on an average of $2,500 in tax refunds each year, some up to $10,000. If you are unsure if you qualify for this refund, the city is offering free tax preparations for citizens making less than $60,000 a year.

Said Menin, “This is a completely new approach for earned income tax for the city.” She also mentioned that the administration has paid $3 million to revamp the “advertising and new outreach campaign.” Because of this program, the city has increased its tax prep sites from 140 to 200. The commissioner suggests anyone who wants to know more go to www.nyc.gov/taxprep.

When asked why this knowledge is so important for the community, one volunteer, Spencer Berthoumieux stated, “We all work hard for our money, so it’s important that we get the most from it.”

Tunie continued this notion by saying that after learning about the tax credit, she was “surprised and elated.” She added that she thinks that it is “something that’s going to be so helpful and something that is really going to bring people out of a poverty situation and to a different level of existence in the city.”

The Saturday telethon took place in each of the five boroughs. With more than 2,000 volunteers, community members were called in three different languages, including English, Spanish and Chinese. The volunteers spent their day calling “hundreds of thousands” of workers eligible for this tax credit on phones donated by AT&T.

Menin concluded her statement by saying that the “earned income tax credit is the single best way to fight poverty, and we as a city want to make sure that there is no one who is eligible for the credits that aren’t taking them.”