EITC AWARENESS Thousands in Southeast Louisiana Qualify for Refund Credit

Attention Taxpayers! You earned it - now keep it!

United Way of Southeast Louisiana, the IRS and partners nationwide will hold the annual EITC Awareness Day on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017 to alert millions of workers who may be missing out on this significant tax credit and other refundable credits.

We want taxpayers to be aware of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and correctly claim it if they qualify.

Whether living in the big city or a small town, EITC can help. The EITC is a federal income tax credit for working people who don't earn a lot ($53,930 or less for 2016) and meet certain eligibility requirements. Because it’s a refundable credit, those who qualify and claim the credit could pay less federal tax, no tax or even get a tax refund. EITC can mean up to a $6,318 refund for working families with qualifying children. Workers without a qualifying child could be eligible for a smaller credit up to $506. The average amount of EITC paid out in 2016 nationwide was more than $2,400. The average amount in Louisiana was more than $2,800.

An eligible taxpayer must have earned income from employment or running or owning a business or farm and meet basic rules. Eligibility also depends on family size, but single workers without a qualifying child who earn under $20,430 may qualify for a smaller credit. Also, certain disability payments may qualify as earned income for EITC purposes. The IRS recommends using the EITC Assistant, on IRS.gov, to determine eligibility, estimate the amount of credit and more.

To get the credit, taxpayers must file their taxes. The VITA program offers free tax help to people who generally make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.” Taxpayers who come to free tax preparation sites can find out about programs that will help them leverage their refunds toward the financial success of their families” said United Way of Southeast Louisiana President and CEO Michael Williamson. “These asset-building programs provide financial education, homebuyer's education, down payment assistance and low interest car loans.”

Many EITC filers will get their refunds later this year than in past years. That’s because a new law requires the IRS to hold refunds claiming the EITC and the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until mid-February. The IRS cautions taxpayers that these refunds likely will not start arriving in bank accounts or on debit cards until the week of Feb. 27. Taxpayers claiming the EITC or ACTC should file as soon as they have all of the necessary documentation together to prepare an accurate return. In other words, file as they normally would. 

For more information about the EITC and VITA Program, visit www.unitedwaysela.org/vita.

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