JACKSON, Mich., March 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The Consumers Energy Foundation announced today that it has contributed $150,000 to support free tax preparation services and Michigan's 2-1-1 network- resources that help families and individuals statewide as they receive their final heating bills from this winter.
"We want people to help us spread the word to friends, family members and neighbors that help is available to pay energy bills," said Chad Miller, Consumers Energy's manager of low-income programs. "It can be as simple as making a phone call or using the expertise of trained tax preparation volunteers who can help families receive the Home Heating Credit and more."
The Consumers Energy Foundation recently provided $150,000 to the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM) to support a statewide coalition providing free tax assistance to financially vulnerable families, individuals and children, using Michigan's 2-1-1 system for referrals and scheduling. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program is supported by the Internal Revenue Service that provides people who make roughly $54,000 or less with free assistance in preparing their tax returns.
"Free tax programs are so important to helping Michigan families keep more of what they earn in their pockets," said Ross Yednock, program director of the Michigan Economic Impact Coalition at CEDAM. "Consumer Energy's support of these efforts is critical to ensuring access to this service across our great state, and we are grateful for their continued partnership."
"Michigan families can qualify for hundreds or even thousands of dollars in available tax relief and other programs offered through agency support and Consumers Energy," Miller said. "As many as one in five households will struggle to pay their energy bills. Even if you do not qualify for help, it's important that you let loved ones and friends know where they can turn in times of need."
Miller offered the following resources for anyone who's facing hardship in keeping up with heating bills:
1. Call 2-1-1. The statewide network can provide callers with tax assistance
locations or contact information for nonprofit organizations that can
help with needs.
2. Apply to the State Emergency Relief Program if you face an immediate need
- those who qualify may receive up to $1,700 in energy assistance. Apply
online at www.Michigan.gov/mibridges or contact state Department of
Health and Human Services offices. Find help near you completing the
3. Find free tax assistance locations at www.michiganfreetaxhelp.org.
4. Ask your tax preparer about the Home Heating Credit and the federal
Earned Income Tax Credit, which are benefits for working people with low
to moderate income. For income guidelines, contact your employer, call
the Internal Revenue Service at (800) 829-3676, or visit www.irs.gov.
5. Learn about programs that can help Consumers Energy customers with their
bills at www.ConsumersEnergy.com/assistance.
6. Learn about ways to reduce your energy bill and more at
Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.7 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
For more information about Consumers Energy, go to www.ConsumersEnergy.com.
FREE TAX HELP: Learn about about free income tax assistance and find locations statewide: www.michiganfreetaxhelp.org
ENERGY ASSISTANCE: Learn how Consumers Energy can help with energy bills: www.ConsumersEnergy.com/assistance
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SOURCE Consumers Energy