Jan. 29 is EITC Awareness Day
Congressman Brian Higgins is encouraging eligible Western New Yorkers to pursue the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a tax provision that can help lift families out of poverty. While 25 million people claimed the EITC in 2020, it is estimated 20% of those eligible did not take advantage of the credit.
“The Earned Income Tax Credit provides a credit to those working to support their families but still struggling,” Higgins said. “The complexities of tax policy means too many who qualify don’t receive the credit. Through both awareness and outreach, we are working to change that.”
Multiple factors contribute to eligibility. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), families with income who did not exceed the following limits in 2020 may be eligible for the EITC:
√ $50,954 ($56,844 married filing jointly) with three or more qualifying children
√ $47,7440 ($53,330 married filing jointly) with two qualifying children
√ $41,756 ($47,646 married filing jointly) with one qualifying child
√ $15,820 ($21,710 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children
The average credit amount, received by those eligible, for tax year 2019 was $2,461. The IRS website provides a series of questions to help determine if one qualifies: https://apps.irs.gov/app/eitc/
Higgins, who serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, has been an advocate for the EITC program and a leader on efforts to make it more user-friendly. The COVID-19 relief package approved and signed into law late last year includes a bipartisan bill led by Higgins that ensures low-income families impacted by the coronavirus outbreak can use the wages reported in their 2019 tax return to compute the EITC on their 2020 tax return.
Higgins recently joined a letter led by Congresswoman Gwen Moore calling on the U.S. Department of Treasury and the IRS to use the information obtained through the non-filer portal to increase participation rates in the EITC and Child Tax Credit programs through targeted outreach. He is also an original cosponsor of the Earned Income and Child Tax Credit Outreach Act, which directs similarly targeted outreach to families eligible for the EITC.
√ For more information on the Earned Income Tax Credit, visit www.eitc.irs.gov.
√ The IRS has programs that provide free tax filing services to individuals generally making under $57,000. Check the website to find a location nearby: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/free-tax-return-preparation-for-qualifying-taxpayers.