Millions of workers could overlook a federal tax credit this year simply because they don’t know it exists, according to the IRS. The credit could provide up to $5,751 extra in federal income tax refunds. Friday, January 25, is National Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness day, and Bucks County Opportunity Council is spreading the word that people who work and earn less than $50,270 may be eligible for larger refunds.
The EITC makes life a little easier for working people, their families, and communities. Last year, on average, the EITC boosted refunds for eligible workers by $2,100.
"This money can make a real difference to workers struggling in this economy," said Roger Collins, executive director of the Bucks County Opportunity Council, a nonprofit that runs Buck$Back, a free tax preparation program for low-income people in Bucks County.
According to US Census Bureau 2010, approximately 77,000 households in Bucks County had an adjusted gross income below the maximum EITC income limit. Many people will qualify for the first time this year due to changes in their income or changes in their marital or parental statuses, according to the IRS. The agency estimates only four out of five eligible workers currently claim their EITC.
"Our goal is to raise it to five out of five," Collins said. "They earned it. Now they need to file to get it."
To receive the EITC, eligible workers must file a federal income tax return even if they are not required to file and specifically must claim the credit to get it.
Workers can get free help to determine their EITC eligibility and claim the credit by contacting Buck$Back, the free income tax preparation service provided by BCOC in partnership with the IRS. To see if you qualify, go to www.bcoc.org and click on the Buck$Back logo.
Buck$Back has assisted struggling families and individuals to obtain crucial refunds that can be used for debt reduction, savings, education costs, or reliable transportation. Over the past eight years, Buck$Back volunteers have assisted in preparing more than 6,000 returns for low-income taxpayers, providing a value of $10.5 million in refunds, credits, rebates and fee savings.
Bucks County Opportunity Council, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping low-income people in Bucks County achieve and maintain economic self-sufficiency. For more information, contact Jessie Marushak, Director of Development, at (215) 345-8175 ext. 204.