Written by Ross Yednock, Program Director of the Michigan Economic Impact Coalition

snow-1269449_640After a cold winter that seemed to drag on, warmer temperatures are here to stay…at least for a couple of months. Time to soak up the sun, enjoy the warmth and relax.

So why am I ruining everyone’s enjoyment of this wonderful summer weather with reminders of a distant cold? Well, because as someone familiar with Michigan’s Home Heating Credit, I know that far too many eligible taxpayers have not claimed their home heating credit, leaving millions of dollars floating in Lansing, instead of helping people to cover their utility expenses.

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Michigan’s Home Heating Credit goes to help offset a lower-income taxpayer’s heating costs. To claim it, a person doesn’t have to file a state income tax return, but they must file a MI1040CR-7 by September 30, 2016.

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Unfortunately, too many people don’t apply for the Michigan Home Heating Credit and therefore miss out on assistance that can either reimburse them for the money they spent on fuel, heating oil or wood last year during the colder months or go directly to their gas utility provider and reduce any current or future bill. Even though we have summer heat now, the credit will help provide a smoother path into colder weather this fall.

dollar-941246_640It is also important to note that while the Home Heating Credit pays for heating costs, access to other energy assistance programs and resources tend to dry up in the summer, making this valuable credit a critical year-round resource for eligible folks who need help with their utility bills. Even though you’re not heating your home now, you can access the credit now if you paid for heat this past winter and your total household income falls within the guidelines.

To apply, either go to the Michigan Department of Treasury’s website and type in “Home Heating Credit” to download the instructions and form, visit MichiganFreeTaxHelp.org, or dial 2-1-1 (if available) or 1-888-636-4211 and to see if there is a free site near you to help you file the credit for free.  Don’t wait until it’s too late! Act now, get ALL the benefits available to you this summer and coast into fall.

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