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Follow the Data Podcast: Steering Millions of Dollars Back into the Pockets of Detroiters

A billboard in Detroit encouraging eligible residents to claim their tax refund

Imagine finding a $4,000 check or more from the federal government in your bank account. For many American families of four, that’s a real possibility thanks to the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is designed to help low- to moderate-income workers and families get a tax break – and in Detroit, 80% of residents who were eligible were not applying for it, even though the city has one of the lowest median incomes and highest poverty rates in the country.

To help Detroiters claim the Earned Income Tax Credit – and to make sure they’re not leaving money on the table – Bloomberg Associates worked with Mayor Mike Duggan and the Accounting Aid Society among other Detroit partners, to develop a strategy to spread the word around it and encourage eligible households to apply for it.

Since the expanded EITC campaign began in 2016, thousands of additional Detroit residents claim their Earned Income Tax Credit annually – worth tens of millions of dollars in the pockets of Detroiters.

On this episode, recorded in late 2020, Rose Gill and Amy Kurland of the Bloomberg Associates Municipal Integrity team sit down with Kathy Aro and Gabrielle Thomas, who run the Account Aid Society, an organization which assists low- to moderate-income residents of southeast Michiganders with free tax preparation and education services.  Kathy and Gabrielle discussed how they’re giving back to Detroiters and how they shifted operations during the coronavirus pandemic. Tiffany Thomas, a Detroit resident, and Mayor Duggan also join the podcast to discuss the success of the campaign and what it means for Detroiters.

You can listen to the podcast and past episodes in the following ways:

To learn more about how our Bloomberg Associates team has been working with cities during the pandemic, we recommend: