Home Heating Credit deadline Sept. 30

With the Sept. 30 deadline approaching to file for the Michigan Home Heating Credit, community support workers at FiveCAP, Inc. are available to prepare the application, along with a tax return for income-eligible residents who have not yet filed.

An appointment is required for this service, and should be made as soon as possible to ensure the service can be provided before the deadline.

“As we prepare for another heat season, this is an important piece for many people who struggle to keep the heat on in their homes,” said FiveCAP Executive Director Mary Trucks. “This money offsets the cost of utilities and allows low-income residents to stretch their budget in other areas.”

FiveCAP offers free tax preparation services to low-income residents throughout the year. Many residents who qualify for tax credits aren’t required to fill out income tax returns, which results in missed opportunities.

“A lot of people think the April 15 deadline applies to all tax returns and credits, but it’s only applicable if you owe money back to the government,” Trucks said. “There is still time to claim the money the government owes you.

“Everyone should file a tax return,” she added. “There are a lot of people who don’t realize they could be getting money back every year, so when our community support workers prepare the application for the Home Heating Credit, they will also check to see if there are any other benefits available.”

To apply for the credit, residents must supply their 2013 income, as well as documentation of how much they spent on heating costs between Nov. 1, 2012 and Oct. 31, 2013.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call FiveCAP at (231) 757-3785.

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Tax preparation appointments available at FiveCAP

FiveCAP, Inc. is currently scheduling appointments for its free tax preparation services.

Each year, FiveCAP offers free tax preparation services to residents of its four-county service area that includes Mason, Manistee, Lake and Newaygo counties. In 2013, FiveCAP prepared tax returns for 1,543 individuals from 1,023 households. A total of $851,041 was returned to these residents.

There are a number of tax credits available to low-income residents and the Community Support Workers at FiveCAP can help take advantage of these opportunities to receive money.

“Many people are not required to file an income tax return, but they should still come in because they are often eligible for at least one of these tax credits,” said Community Support Director Holly Haywood.

Of the $851,041 that was returned to FiveCAP clients last year, Haywood reported only $202,246 was from state or federal income taxes. The remaining $648,795 was returned through credits.

“Even though the state greatly reduced the Earned Income Tax Credit last year, it is still available, as is the federal EITC,” Haywood added. “Additionally, there are credits for owning property, heating your home and having children. All of that is money that can help your family make ends meet, something many people are having a very hard time doing.

“This winter is turning out to be very expensive for people, with the extreme cold forcing people to increase their utility usage and the high cost of those utilities emptying their pocketbooks. A tax return check goes a long way toward helping people catch up.”

To qualify for FiveCAP’s free tax preparation services, income must be within 200 percent of the 2013 federal poverty level, which is $22,980 for a one-person household and increases by $8,040 for each additional person. Residents should be prepared to provide the following documents at the time of their tax preparation appointment:

  • Any W-2 and/or 1099 forms
  • Year-end statement for those who receive Social Security benefits
  • Year-end and quarterly statements for those who receive SSI benefits
  • Family Independence statements from the Department of Human Services
  • Child support statements
  • Unemployment benefit statements
  • Any other statements for income received in 2013
  • Heating costs from Nov. 1, 2012 to Oct. 30, 2013
  • Property tax statements (both summer and winter) with State Equalized Value
  • Birthdays and Social Security numbers for themselves and any dependents

To book an appointment, contact FiveCAP at one of the following locations:

MASON COUNTY: 302 North Main St., in Scottville; (231) 757-3785

MANISTEE COUNTY: 265 First St., in Manistee; (231) 723-8327

LAKE COUNTY: 2476 West 44th St., in Baldwin; (231) 745-4617

NEWAYGO COUNTY: 434 North Evergreen Dr., in White Cloud; (231) 689-6688

Sign-up available for FiveCAP’s free tax preparation services

FiveCAP, Inc. is now accepting names from residents interested in free tax preparation services. Specific appointment times will not be available until February, but signing up for the list will ensure a call from one of the Community Support Workers to set up a time as soon as appointments are available.

“We’re waiting for the IRS to release the forms we need to be able to do income tax returns,” said FiveCAP Community Support Director Holly Haywood. “As soon as we get them, we will begin booking appointments.”

Each year, FiveCAP offers free tax preparation services to residents of its four-county service area that includes Mason, Manistee, Lake and Newaygo counties. In 2013, FiveCAP prepared tax returns for 1,543 individuals from 1,023 households. A total of $851,041 was returned to these residents.

“We want to remind people to have their taxes done even if they don’t have earned income because they may still be eligible for credits,” Haywood added. “Even though many individuals aren’t required to file a return, they may qualify to get money back and every little bit certainly helps.”

Residents should be prepared to provide the following documents at the time of their tax preparation appointment:

  • Any W-2 and/or 1099 forms
  • Year-end statement for those who receive Social Security benefits
  • Year-end and quarterly statements for those who receive SSI benefits
  • Family Independence statements from the Department of Human Services
  • Child support statements
  • Unemployment benefit statements
  • Any other statements for income received in 2013
  • Heating costs from Nov. 1, 2012 to Oct. 30, 2013
  • Property tax statements (both summer and winter) with State Equalized Value
  • Birthdays and Social Security numbers for themselves and any dependents

To put your name on the list for tax preparation services, call FiveCAP at (231) 757-3785.

Home Heating Credit deadline Sept 30

FiveCAP Community Support Workers available to help residents apply

The clock is ticking on filing for the Michigan Home Heating Credit with the deadline set for Sept. 30. The Community Support Workers at FiveCAP, Inc. are available to help residents apply for this credit, which is provided by the State of Michigan through Low-Income Heating & Energy Assistance Program grants.

“The cost of heating a home through the winter can put a huge burden on a family,” said FiveCAP Community Support Director Holly Haywood. “This credit provides residents with some money to offset their utility costs and hopefully ease that burden.”

To get FiveCAP’s assistance in applying for the Home Heating Credit, an appointment is required. To process the application, the Community Support Workers will need to see income for 2012 as well as documentation of how much was spent on home heating costs between Nov. 1, 2011 and Oct. 31, 2012.

The home heating credit is available to residents regardless of whether they file an income tax return. However, Haywood said, many people are missing out on money they could get back because they don’t file.

“Some of our clients are not required to file an income tax return, so they don’t,” she said. “But many of them could get something back if they did.”

Tax preparation is a service that FiveCAP offers, free of charge, to low-income residents of its four-county service area and can take place during the same appointment as application for the Home Heating Credit.

To schedule an appointment, call FiveCAP at (231) 757-3785 or stop by your county FiveCAP office.