As I paid bills that first month after my son had graduated, landed a job and left home, I had an uneasy feeling I had forgot to pay a bill…I had money left at the end of the month. It was almost like having a pay raise. It takes a lot of money to raise a family, and helping low-wage earners hang on to that much-needed income is exactly what the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is all about.
EITC is one of the principal anti-poverty programs for working families in the federal budget. EITC is for working people with low and moderate incomes, including families with incomes up to $53,267. The credit ranges from minimal (as low as $2) to life-changing (up to $6,143). The amount a family receives is based on:
- If you are single or married
- If you have no children or the number of children you have
- The amount you earn.
To be eligible to claim this refundable credit, you must have worked and have earned income; have a Social Security number; be a U.S. citizen or resident alien all year; cannot file married filing separately; cannot be a qualifying child of another person and must have investment income less than $3350.
You have to file a federal tax return to get EITC even if you owe no tax or are not required to file. Free tax preparations volunteers work hard to ensure low to moderate income earners take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit. To find a free tax prep sites near you, visit www.irs.gov/Individuals/Free-Tax-Return-Preparation-for-You-by-Volunteers