Operation HOPE, Atlanta was honored to stand with the Atlanta Prosperity Campaign, the IRS, the Atlanta Food Bank and others at a press conference last week to launch a focus on the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for working individuals and families. Icons Ambassador Andrew Young, the HOPE Global Spokesman, and Congressman John Lewis both joined the press conference.
The EITC is a powerful vehicle for individuals and families to change their lives, providing up to $5,700 to qualified individuals. Best of all, EITC a tax credit and not just a benefit, meaning you can receive a cash refund or reduce your tax burden. Furthermore, it is retroactive for up to three years, meaning that if you qualify in 2011 for say a $4,000 cash refund, you may also qualify for as much as $12,000, receiving the total sum within 30 days directly from the IRS.
At HOPE we hear so much from families who are dealing with homes in foreclosure, cars in repossession, and children who are unable to return to college because the family cannot afford to pay this year's tution. Or think about the cousin who asks you for a loan like clock work. There is a good chance they qualify for the EITC.
The federal government funded close to $50 billion last year to more than 28 million Americans for EITC, but still, one in four Americans who qualify for EITC never apply for it. And here is the problem — and it is a financial literacy and financial dignity issue — if you make more than $50,000 you probably have a tax professional, but you don't qualify for EITC. If you make less than $50,000 you probably do not have a tax professional (and thus no one tells you that you have money due to you), but you probably do qualify for EITC.
If you believe you qualify for EITC or know someone who does, contact Operation HOPE, the Atlanta Prosperity Campaign or another IRS partner today. Welcome to the new silver rights movement.
Onward and with HOPE
John Hope Bryant is a thought leader, founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass) the only African-American bestselling business author in America, and is chairman of the Subcommittee for the Under-Served and Community Empowerment for the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability, for President Barack Obama. Mr. Bryant is the co-founder of the Gallup-HOPE Index, the only national research poll on youth financial dignity and youth economic energy in the U.S. He is also a co-founder of Global Dignity with HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Professor Pekka Himanen of Finland. Global Dignity is affiliated with the Forum of Young Global Leaders and the World Economic Forum.