Expanded access to Home Heating Credit, free tax preparation assistance available through MDHHS partnership 

Amount of tax benefits have more than doubled due to COVID-19 funds

LANSING, Mich. – Michiganders will have greater access to an increasing amount of Home Heating Credit benefits this year through a partnership between the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan.

MDHHS awarded the association a $1 million grant to expand the capacity of free tax preparation service providers statewide and increase access to the Home Heating Credit and other tax credits that help improve financial stability. The Home Heating Credit is available through the Michigan Department of Treasury.

“The Home Heating Credit helps Michigan families stay warm and safe,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “We urge Michiganders to apply for this credit so that they can get money back in their pockets to keep the heat on and spend their hard-earned paychecks to put food on the table and pay the bills. At the state-level, we will continue working together to grow our economy, create more good-paying jobs and lower costs for working families.”

This fiscal year $120 million in Home Heating Credit benefits are available to Michigan residents – which is more than double the typical amount due to an additional $70 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act COVID-19 recovery funding.

The Home Heating Credit is a way the State of Michigan helps qualified homeowners and renters pay some of their heating expenses. Income, heating costs and other factors determine eligibility and the household benefit amount.

“We want to be sure people in Michigan can pay their bills and keep their heat turned on,” said MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel. “I am excited that we can collaborate with the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan to provide our residents with greater access to the Home Heating Credit.”

With the $1 million grant, the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan has awarded nine organizations with grants to expand the capacity of free tax preparation services across the state. They are:

  • Accounting Aid Society, Detroit.
  • Barry County United Way.
  • United Way of South Central Michigan-Capital Area (formerly Capital Area United Way), Lansing.
  • Community Action Agency, Jackson.
  • Heart of West Michigan United Way, Grand Rapids.
  • Macomb County Veterans Services.
  • Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency, Traverse City.
  • United Way of Genesee County.
  • Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency.

The Community Economic Development Association of Michigan will connect more Michigan households to free tax preparation services and enable tax preparation sites to open more locations, extend hours, remain in service year-round and promote vital tax credits.

“There is still plenty of time to apply for the Home Heating Credit,” State Treasurer Rachel Eubanks said. “This is an incredible partnership that can help households receive relief during our colder months. Please don’t hesitate to learn about this very important credit today.”

The Michigan Department of Treasury determines eligibility and issues Home Heating Credit benefits. The average Home Heating Credit benefit was $186 for fiscal year 2020. That amount is expected to be larger this year due to the increased funding. In addition to the American Rescue Act dollars, it also includes $50 million in block grant funding from the federal Low-Income Heating Assistance Program. If there are any unspent dollars, there will be supplemental payments issued to households that already filed this fall.

Application forms are available from the Department of Treasury, local MDHHS offices, and anyplace Michigan tax forms are available. Although the federal tax filing deadline has passed, low-income residents who have not already applied for the Home Heating Credit can visit one of these agencies and complete the application until Sept 30.

Households do not need to file a state income tax return to qualify for the Home Heating Credit and may apply for the credit only. Eligibility is based on income, number of exemptions and household heating costs. More information is available at www.michigan.gov/Treasury. Instructions for applying for the Home Heating Credit and the application form can be found on the Michigan Department of Treasury website.