The Internal Revenue Service wants families to make sure they’re not leaving money on the table this tax season. Christopher Miller with the IRS in Milwaukee says the Earned Income Tax Credit has been called “the government’s largest anti-poverty program” for low to moderate income households.
Millions of taxpayers may qualify for EITC for the first time in 2016, but “people may be qualifying for the first time and not even know it,” Miller said.
In Wisconsin last year, around 384,000 families claimed EITC, totaling around $849 million. The average credit was just over $2200. “But we know that about 20 percent of the families that qualify for this credit every year, for one reason or another miss out,” said
Friday is the 10th anniversary of Earned Income Tax Awareness Day.
How to Claim the EITC
To get the EITC, workers must file a tax return, even if they are not required to file, and specifically claim the credit. Free tax help is available. Those eligible for the EITC have these options:
· Free File on IRS.gov Free brand-name tax software walks people through a question and answer format to help them prepare their returns and claim every credit and deduction for which they are eligible. Free File also provides online versions of IRS paper forms, an option called Free File Fillable Forms which is best suited for taxpayers comfortable preparing their own returns.
· Free tax preparation sites EITC-eligible workers can seek free tax preparation at thousands of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) sites. Taxpayers can locate the nearest site using a search tool on IRS.gov or through the IRS2go smartphone application.
It is important for taxpayers to bring along all the required documents and information to make sure they get the EITC they deserve.
The IRS issues more than 9 out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. However, it’s possible a tax return may require additional review and take longer. Taxpayers can track the status of their refund with the “Wheres My Refund?” tool available on IRS.gov or on IRS2go.This online tool has the most up to date information available about a refund.