Jan. 28 is Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day
Congressman Brian Higgins is urging Western New Yorkers to take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – a tax provision that helps lift working families out of poverty. In 2021, 25 million Americans received the credit, however it is estimated 20% of eligible taxpayers – about 6 million people – failed to claim the benefit.
“The Earned Income Tax Credit provides critical support to hardworking families, reduces poverty, and provides opportunities for children across Western New York,” Higgins said. “Although millions of Americans qualify, each year many do not claim the credit. We are working to raise awareness and provide resources so low-to-moderate income households can take advantage of all the support available to them.”
The IRS estimates four out of five workers qualify to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit. As of December 2021, approximately 25 million taxpayers received over $60 billion in EITC refunds. The average payment nationwide was $2,411, helping families afford basic needs, housing, and educational training. Last year 1.5 million New Yorkers claimed the EITC, bringing a total of $3.4 billion to the state, with average payments of $2,284.
Higgins’ team said, “If you worked last year and earned an income under $57,414, it’s important to assess your EITC eligibility.”
The EITC is available for workers whose income does not exceed the following limits:
√ $51,464 ($57,414 if married filing jointly) with three or more qualifying children
√ $47,915 ($53,865 if married filing jointly) with two or more qualifying children
√ $42,158 ($48,108 if married filing jointly) with one qualifying child
√ $21,430 ($27,380 if married filing jointly) with no qualifying children
Last year, thanks to the American Rescue Plan, the EITC was extended for the 2021 tax year to childless workers, workers ages 19-24 who are not full-time students, and working seniors. It also increased the maximum credit for childless adults. Additionally, Congress is allowing taxpayers to use their 2019 tax information for the purpose of claiming the EITC and other credits, ensuring that the amount they receive is not decreased due to a drop in income during the COVID-19 pandemic. This provision was included in the American Rescue Plan as a result of a bipartisan bill led by Higgins in 2020 to ensure tax credits for low-income families, like the EITC and the Child Tax Credit, were not impacted by the pandemic-related incomes loss.
If you qualify to receive the EITC, you must file a tax return to claim the credit even if you do not owe on your taxes or aren’t required to file a return. To learn more about qualifications and EITC resources, visit https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/individuals/earned-income-tax-credit-eitc.
Taxpayers who make less than $58,000 per year or have a disability qualify for free tax assistance and return preparation through the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. IRS-certified tax preparers can help determine whether you qualify for the EITC and other refundable credits and also file your return for free. To learn more about free tax preparation available in Western New York, call 211 or visit https://www.irs.gov/individuals/free-tax-return-preparation-for-you-by-volunteers.