Workers May Qualify for Federal Tax Credit

With tax season quickly approaching, it is the ideal time to explore whether you qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit or “EITC.” The EITC is a refundable federal income tax credit for low to moderate income working individuals and families. Congress originally approved the tax credit legislation in 1975 in part to offset the burden of social security taxes and to provide an incentive to work. When EITC exceeds the amount of taxes owed, it results in a tax refund to those who claim and qualify for the credit.

Join the millions who already received the EITC they earned. Last year, the credit returned over $63 billion dollars to over 27 million workers. The amount of EITC varies by income, family size and your filing status. It can mean up to $487 for people without children, and up to $6,044 for those with three or more qualifying children. The average EITC amount last year was $2,335.

To qualify, you must meet certain requirements and file a tax return, even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to file. With the exception of some who receive certain disability income, you must work for wages, or run a business or a farm to qualify for EITC. Workers who made less than $51,567 should see if they qualify for EITC by using the improved EITC Assistant tool that shows who qualifies for the credit and the amount of the credit. Those who qualify for the credit can get free return preparation through volunteer sites. IRS certified volunteers will prepare your return and determine if you qualify for the EITC and other refundable credits.

To make sure that you get the correct amount of credit due to you, if you have someone prepare your return, make sure to bring the following with you:

  • A valid driver’s license or other photo id card,
  • Social security cards, a Social Security number (SSN) verification letter or the Individual Taxpayer Identifying Number (ITIN) for all persons listed on the return,
  • Birth dates for all persons listed on return,
  • All income statements: Forms W-2 and 1099, Social Security, unemployment, and other statements, such as pensions, stocks, interest and any documents showing taxes withheld. If you run a business or farm, records of all income earned,
  • All records of expenses, such as tuition, mortgage interest or real estate taxes. And, if you run a business or farm, records of all related expenses,
  • Copies of last year’s state and federal tax returns, if available,
  • Bank routing numbers and account numbers to direct deposit any refund,
  • Dependent child care information: name and address of who you paid and either the caretaker’s SSN or other tax identification number, and
  • Both spouses to sign forms to e-file (electronically file) a joint tax return.

Workers who qualify for EITC must file federal income tax returns-even if their income is below the filing requirement-and specifically claim the credit to get it.

Find a location for free tax return preparation near you.

If you have been denied the earned income tax credit and need legal advice, call CLSMF’s LITC hotline at 1-866-886-1799 or apply online to see if you qualify for assistance.

Learn more about CLMSF’s Low Income Tax Clinic.