Georgia Work Credit can help working families step up

January 27th, 2017 by

By Jen Singeisen

Too many in our community struggle to step up into the middle class, even as they strive to do all the right things to work their way up the economic ladder. More than a quarter of Savannah’s residents live in poverty. Many neighborhoods have seen jobs vanish and incomes fall over the past three decades. When hardworking people can’t get ahead, it weighs down the economy as a whole and undermines our community’s ability to thrive. At Step Up Savannah, we engage all sectors of the community to improve the economic mobility and financial stability of families. Helping people step up benefits us all; studies show a strong link between broad-based opportunity and economic growth. Low economic mobility and financial stability are community-wide issues that diminish our overall economic potential.

While there is no silver bullet for the complex challenges facing families today, but state leaders do have some proven tools at their disposal. This legislative session, our state lawmakers can enact a time-tested policy with strong bipartisan support to give an economic boost to working families.

Today is EITC Awareness Day, a chance to recognize the enormous impact the national Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has on our community. Created in 1975, the EITC is a federal policy that cuts taxes for low-wage workers like cashiers and nurses, providing a wage boost for families moving toward the middle class. In 2017, about 32,000 Chatham County families will claim the national EITC, bringing in nearly $100 million to our economy.

Georgia can build on this success by enacting a Georgia Work Credit, a state version of the EITC. To be eligible for the credit, Social-Media-Templates-EITC-Day (1)_Page_3recipients must work; making this a great incentive to keep folks in the workforce.  Many are seeing this as a viable alternative to raising the minimum wage. A Georgia Work Credit would provide a tax break up to help working families make ends meet. Evidence from the EITC and other states shows that a Georgia Work Credit would help families in Chatham County work their way to the middle class by making key investments, saving for a rainy day and making sure bills get paid. A Georgia Work Credit would also help children as research has shown that the EITC is linked to healthier babies, better school performance and higher earnings later in life. More than helping individual families, the Georgia Work Credit would also pump over $8.7 million into our local businesses.

The General Assembly should take a page from our Chatham County Legislative Delegation and take a serious look at the potential of a Georgia Work Credit as a vehicle to provide a bottom-up tax cut to working families. A Georgia Work Credit would help build the middle class, impart lifelong benefits for children and provide a pivotal step up the economic ladder for thousands of families in our community.

Tax Time = Time to Save

January 20th, 2016 by

Did you know that retirement is the only thing you can’t borrow money to do? Tax time provides a great opportunity for people
retirementto start saving for the future, which will be here before you know it. Even setting aside a small portion of your refund is a great start. For those who haven’t found an easy way to save, myRA (my Retirement Account) is a great place to start. This tax season, tax filers can get on the path to more secure retirements and, if eligible, take advantage of the Saver’s Tax Credit with myRA.

What is myRA?

myRA is a new starter retirement savings account developed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. It may be a good savings option for many tax filers, especially for those who don’t have access to retirement savings plans at work — like small business employees, part-time and temporary workers, and the self-employed. myRA is a Roth IRA1 that was designed to remove common barriers to saving and make it easy to get started. Saving with myRA is simple, safe, and affordable:

  • No cost to open, no minimums, and no fees
  • No complicated investment options
  • No risk of losing money
  • Backed by the U.S. Treasury
  • Savers choose the amount to contribute1
  • Money deposited is available when it’s needed2

Tax filers can make the most of their federal tax refunds with just three simple steps:

  1. Open a myRA account before filing a tax return by visiting myRA.gov or calling 855-406-6972.
  2. Provide the appropriate myRA account and routing numbers (111925074) to your tax preparer and indicate the amount of the federal tax refund that should be directed to the myRA account. If depositing a refund into multiple accounts, Form 8888 will need to be completed.
  3. Ask your preparer if you are also eligible for the Saver’s Tax Credit. Individuals may be eligible if they contribute to certain types of retirement savings accounts, like myRA.

Need help getting your taxes prepared? Contact the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program at Neighborhood Improvement Association to find a free tax preparation site near you: 912.447.5577 or www.niacdc.org


1Annual and lifetime contribution limits and annual earned income limits apply, as do conditions for tax-free withdrawal of interest. To learn about key features of a Roth IRA and for other requirements and details, visit myRA.gov/roth-ira.

2Interest earned may be withdrawn without tax and penalty five years after your first contribution if you are over age 59 ½, or if you meet certain other conditions, such as using the funds for the purchase of your first home.