Home » Posts tagged 'EITC'
Tag Archives: EITC
The Earned Income Tax Credit, commonly referred to as EITC, can be a financial boost for working people adversely impacted by hard economic times. However, one in four eligible taxpayers could miss out on the credit because they don’t check it out. Here are the top 10 things the Internal Revenue Service wants you to know about this valuable credit, which has been making the lives of working people a little easier for 35 years.
- Just because you didn’t qualify last year, doesn’t mean you won’t this year. As your financial, marital or parental situations change from year-to-year, you should review the EITC eligibility rules to determine whether you qualify.
- If you qualify, it could be worth up to $5,657 this year. EITC not only reduces the federal tax you owe, but could result in a refund. The amount of your EITC is based on the amount of your earned income and whether or not there are qualifying children in your household. New EITC provisions mean more money for larger families.
- If you qualify, you must file a federal income tax return and specifically claim the credit in order to get it – even if you are not otherwise required to file.
- Your filing status cannot be Married Filing Separately.
- You must have a valid Social Security Number. You, your spouse – if filing a joint return – and any qualifying child listed on Schedule EIC must have a valid SSN issued by the Social Security Administration.
- You must have earned income. You have earned income if you work for someone who pays you wages, you are self-employed, you have income from farming, or – in some cases – you receive disability income.
- Married couples and single people without kids may qualify. If you do not have qualifying children, you must also meet the age and residency requirements as well as dependency rules.
- Special rules apply to members of the U.S. Armed Forces in combat zones. Members of the military can elect to include their nontaxable combat pay in earned income for the EITC. If you make this election, the combat pay remains nontaxable.
- It’s easy to determine whether you qualify. The EITC Assistant, an interactive tool available on IRS.gov, removes the guesswork from eligibility rules. Just answer a few simple questions to find out if you qualify and estimate the amount of your EITC.
- Free help is available at volunteer assistance sites and IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers to help you prepare and claim your EITC. If you are preparing your taxes electronically, the software program you use will figure the credit for you. If you qualify for the credit you may also be eligible for Free File. You can access Free File at IRS.gov.
For more information about the EITC, see IRS Publication 596, Earned Income Credit. This publication – available in both English and Spanish – can be downloaded from IRS.gov or ordered by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
- EITC Assistant
- Earned Income Tax Credit
- Publication 596, Earned Income Credit (EIC) (PDF 373K)
- Free File
- Tax Topic 601, Earned Income Credit
WASHINGTON — Nearly 12,000 free tax preparation sites will be open nationwide this year as the Internal Revenue Service continues to expand its partnerships with nonprofit and community organizations performing vital tax preparation services for low-income and elderly taxpayers.
The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program offers free tax help to people who earn less than $49,000. The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Program offers free tax help to taxpayers who are 60 and older.
Today, partners and local officials will be hosting news conferences or issuing news releases nationwide to highlight the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and their free tax preparation programs. The EITC is already the government’s largest cash assistance program targeted to low-income Americans. However, not all eligible taxpayers may be aware or claim the EITC.
Taxpayers need to bring to the VITA/TCE sites the following items:
- Photo identification
- Valid Social Security cards for the taxpayer, spouse and dependents
- Birth dates for primary, secondary and dependents on the tax return
- Current year’s tax package, if received
- Wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, from all employers
- Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
- A copy of last year’s federal and state returns, if available
- Bank routing numbers and account numbers for direct deposit
- Other relevant information about income and expenses
- Total paid for day care
- Day care provider’s identifying number
To file taxes electronically on a Married Filing Jointly tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.
Trained community volunteers can help eligible taxpayers with all special credits, such as the EITC, Child Tax Credit or Credit for the Elderly. Also, many sites have language specialists to assist people with limited English skills.
In addition to free tax return preparation assistance, most sites use free electronic filing. Individuals taking advantage of the e-file program will receive their refunds in half the time compared to returns filed on paper. Taxpayers who use e-file and direct deposit can receive their refund in as few as 10 days. This year, taxpayers also can use the refunds to purchase U.S. Savings Bonds.
Taxpayers who file electronically also can opt to file now and pay later. If taxpayers owe, they can make a payment April 15 by authorizing an electronic funds withdrawal (direct debit) from a checking or savings account, paying by credit (Discover Card, American Express, MasterCard or VISA Card), or by check or money order (made out to the United States Treasury) using Form 1040-V, Payment Voucher.
As part of the IRS-sponsored TCE Program, AARP offers the Tax-Aide counseling program at nearly 7,000 sites nationwide during the filing season. Trained and certified AARP Tax-Aide volunteer counselors help people of low-to-middle income with special attention to people age 60 and older. To locate the nearest AARP Tax-Aide site, call 1-888-227-7669 or visit AARP’s Internet site.
The military also partners with the IRS to provide free tax assistance to military personnel and their families. The Armed Forces Tax Council (AFTC) consists of the tax program coordinators for the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The AFTC oversees the operation of the military tax programs worldwide, and serves as the main conduit for outreach by the IRS to military personnel and their families. Volunteers are trained and equipped to address military specific tax issues, such as combat zone tax benefits and the effect of the EITC guidelines.
For taxpayers who want to prepare and e-file their own tax returns, there is IRS Free File. This is a free service offered by approximately 20 companies who make their software available for free. Taxpayers with incomes of less than $57,000 are eligible to use Traditional Free File, which is the easy-to-use, interview-style software. For people with incomes of more than $57,000 or people who need little assistance, there is Free File Fillable Forms. For either service, taxpayers must go through irs.gov/freefile to access the programs.
EITC-eligible taxpayers also can seek free assistance at the 400 IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers nationwide. To assist EITC taxpayers, 167 IRS TACs will offer Saturday service on Jan. 30, Feb. 6 and Feb. 20.
IRS Patrol: The IRS Wants You To Know More About the Earned Income Tax Credit – EITC Awareness Day Declared
[Stacie says: If you are claiming this credit for yourself or for a client, be sure to complete the necessary documentation. Plus, free help is available for people who qualify – read on to learn more]
WASHINGTON — An expanded Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) means larger families will qualify for a larger credit, offering greater relief for people who struggled through difficult financial times last year, the Internal Revenue Service said today.
The IRS and the Treasury Department marked EITC Awareness Day [January 29] as their partners nationwide worked to highlight the availability of this important tax credit. EITC, which is in its thirty-fifth year, is one of the federal government’s largest benefit programs for working families and individuals. Last year, nearly 24 million people received $50 Billion in benefits. The average credit was more than $2,000.
“As part of the economic recovery efforts, there have been important changes to expand EITC to benefit taxpayers,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “Today, more than ever, hard-working individuals and families can use a little extra help. EITC can make the lives of working people a little easier.”
Eligibility for EITC depends on earned income and family size, among other tests. However, single people and childless workers also are eligible, although for smaller amounts. For tax years 2009 and 2010, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act created a new category for families with three or more children and expanded the maximum benefit for this category.
To qualify for the EITC, earned income and adjusted gross income (AGI) for individuals must each be less than:
- $43,279 ($48,279 married filing jointly) with three or more qualifying children
- $40,295 ($45,295 married filing jointly) with two qualifying children
- $35,463 ($40,463 married filing jointly) with one qualifying child
- $13,440 ($18,440 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children
The maximum credit for tax year 2009 is:
- $5,657 with three or more qualifying children
- $5,028 with two qualifying children
- $3,043 with one qualifying child
- $457 with no qualifying children
The maximum amount of investment income is $3,100 for tax year 2009. For families, there are also certain requirements for child residency and relationship that must be met. Additional eligibility information is available in FS-2010-11 and on the Web at IRS.gov/EITC.
Another new provision adds to the definition of a “qualifying child:” The child must be younger than the person claiming the child unless the child is totally and permanently disabled any time during the year. The child cannot have filed a joint return other than to claim a refund. Also new for 2009, if a qualifying child can be claimed by either a parent or another person, the other person must have an AGI higher than the parent in order to claim the child for EITC purposes.
Historically, one in four eligible taxpayers fails to claim the EITC, which is why the IRS and its free tax preparation partners host an annual EITC Awareness Day. This year, there are 68 news conferences being held around the country. Community coalitions and IRS partners nationwide also are also issuing 128 news releases, writing letters to the editor and using social media tools to spread the word about EITC.
Typically, people who fail to claim the EITC include workers without qualifying children, people whose earned income falls below the threshold required to file a tax return, farmers, rural residents, people with disabilities and nontraditional families such as grandparents raising grandchildren. People must file a tax return to claim the EITC.
Free help is available to EITC-eligible taxpayers. There are nearly 12,000 free tax preparation sites nationwide. People who want to prepare their own tax returns can visit Free File on IRS.gov. This free tax software and free electronic filing program will walk taxpayers through a question and answer format and help them claim the tax credits and deductions for which they are eligible.
EITC-eligible taxpayers also can seek assistance at the 400 IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers nationwide. To assist EITC taxpayers, 167 IRS assistance centers will offer Saturday service on Jan. 30, Feb. 6 and Feb. 20.
There is an online EITC Assistant also available on IRS.gov which can help taxpayers and tax preparers determine eligibility. And, for tax preparers and IRS partners, there is EITC Central which has links to toolkits that include marketing products.
More than 65 percent of EITC returns are prepared by a third party. The IRS urges taxpayers to choose a reputable tax preparer to avoid problems that come with an inaccurate tax return. The agency also urges tax preparers to follow due diligence requirements when preparing an EITC tax return. More information is available at irs.gov/eitc.