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EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT


You could owe less in taxes and get cash back from the IRS. 


The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a federal tax benefit for working people with low or moderate incomes.   It can offset some or all of the taxes workers must pay and can help cover any federal income tax workers may still owe at tax time.  You may also get cash back through an EITC refund.  The EITC can be worth up to $5,751 for families who worked in 2011.  In addition, some families can get the Child Tax Credit (CTC), which can be worth up to $1,000 per child.  Even if you don’t owe any income tax, you may still be eligible for these credits if you worked during 2011.

 

The big problem with the ETIC and the CTC is that not enough people claim the credits!  The IRS tells us that millions of eligible families did not file for these credits last year.  That means that millions of dollars are not finding their way into the pockets of people right here in our community. 

 

You can get these tax credits and not lose other public benefits.  The EITC and CTC do not count as income in determining eligibility for benefits like cash assistance, Medicaid, food stamps, SSI, public housing or child care. 

 

To claim the credits, you must file a 2011 tax return.  Many people feel confused or overwhelmed when faced with filing a tax return.  They often seek the services of a paid tax preparer who may charge $100 or more.  That preparer may also persuade you to get a “quick refund” which can add more fees.  That’s why it’s so important to know there is an alternative:  Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA). 

 

Before using a paid tax preparer, consider using a VITA site that can help you prepare and file your taxes for free.  Taking advantage of free tax preparation through VITA is a simple way to save money while filing your taxes.  Your tax refund, including credits like EITC and CTC, can help you become more financially secure – better able to keep up with household bills, stave off more dire situations such as mortgage foreclosure and save for emergencies.

 

You don’t have to pay for filing, loans or quick refunds.  VITA has no fees or hidden expenses.  Returns are e-filed so you’ll receive your refund in 10 days – faster if you receive your refund using direct deposit. To find a VITA site near you, click here.