Tax Time Help With Heating Bills For Qualifying State Residents

       Tax Time Help With Heating Bills For Qualifying State Residents

PR Newswire

JACKSON, Mich., Feb. 6, 2013

JACKSON, Mich., Feb. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- During February, which Governor
Snyder has designated Keep Michigan Warm Month, Consumers Energy is alerting
qualifying Michigan residents that help with their heating bills may be
available through a Michigan Home Heating Credit as well as a federal Earned
Income Credit.

Last year, more than 402,000 Michigan residents received a combined total of
$58 million in aid through the Home Heating Credit program, which is funded by
the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Last year's
average credit was $144. The Home Heating Credit can be used for all types of
primary heating fuel, including natural gas, propane and purchased firewood.
Renters may also qualify for the credit. You do not need to file a state tax
return to apply. Though the deadline to file is Sept. 30, 2013, applicants
are encouraged to file early.

"Tax season is an ideal time to file since free preparation assistance is
available throughout much of the state," said Whitney Skeans, Consumers
Energy's customer assistance coordinator. "For help locating the free tax site
nearest you, you can simply dial 2-1-1, the health and human service
equivalent of 9-1-1 spearheaded by the United Way." 

Home Heating Credit forms (MI-1040CR-7) are available at the following
locations: most public libraries, Secretary of State branch offices,
Department of Human Services branch offices, or linked from Consumers Energy's
"Energy Answers" section on its website:
www.consumersenergy.com/energyanswers. By calling Consumers Energy at
1-800-477-5050, its customer service representatives can quickly and
conveniently provide you with last year's total heat cost (Line 11). This
information can also be found on your December, January, and February
statements.

The federal Earned Income Credit is another refundable federal income tax
credit available to qualifying low-income taxpayers. It must be filed during
tax season. For income guidelines, contact your employer, call the Internal
Revenue Service at (800) 829-3676, or visit www.irs.gov.

The Michigan Department of Treasury can answer questions about both forms;
information is available by calling (517) 636-4486. Downloadable forms and
booklets can be found at: www.michigan.gov/taxes.

Additionally, Consumers Energy is hosting Accounting Aid Society IRS-certified
volunteers to assist southeast Michigan residents with free tax preparation
each Saturday from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM at two of the utility's
wheelchair-accessible locations: at the Clinton Township service center, 35350
Kelly Road, until April 13 by appointment only (586-265-5697); and at the
Pontiac service center, 1030 Featherstone Road, until March 30 on a first come
first served basis. Other locations for free tax filing assistance through the
Accounting Aid Society can be found by calling 866-673-0873, or statewide
through the Michigan VITA site at: http://www.michiganeic.org/freetaxprep

Consumers Energy, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy, provides natural gas
and electricity to 6.8 million of the state's nearly 10 million residents in
all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

For more information about Consumers Energy, visit our Website at
www.consumersenergy.com

SOURCE Consumers Energy

Website: http://www.consumersenergy.com
Contact: Dan Bishop, Consumers Energy, +1-517-788-2395, Tom Page, United Way
2-1-1, +1-517-664-9811, or Vicky Billington, Accounting Aid Society,
+1-313-556-1920