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Overlooked Tax Credit Could Put $5,800 in Your Pocket

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Happy National Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day! If you don’t know what this day recognizes, celebrated January 25, you’re not alone. The Internal Revenue Service estimates that 25 percent of qualified workers fail to claim the earned income tax credit, or EITC, each year. And that could be worth up to $5,800 for a family of four.

Who’s Eligible?

The EITC is for people who work, but have low wages. Anyone earning less than $50,000 should see if they qualify. In addition to reducing the amount of taxes owed, the EITC may also produce a tax refund. More than 27 million taxpayers received nearly $62 billion in earned income tax credits for the 2011 tax year.

“The EITC puts money back where it’s needed the most, in the hands of hardworking people,” said Bernie McKay, director of the American Tax & Financial Center at TurboTax. “We urge eligible taxpayers to claim this credit. Taxpayers of all income levels benefit when they are fully engaged in preparing their own returns and learn how to claim the credits and deductions they are entitled to, especially the EITC. It’s a cornerstone of financial empowerment.”

How to Find It

The EITC Finder, is a free smartphone app that makes determining eligibility easy. Created by Intuit Inc, the maker of TurboTax, it’s available in English and Spanish on the App Store, Android Market and Amazon AppStore. The finder asks a few simple questions, such as “Are you married or single?” and “How many children do you support?” to determine eligibility. If the individual qualifies for the EITC, the app estimates the possible state and federal refund.

The majority of taxpayers claiming the credit are eligible for free tax preparation.  Taxpayers can prepare and file their return online at no cost through the Free File program at www.irs.gov. TurboTax Freedom Edition is available to anyone with adjusted gross income of $31,000 or less or those on active military duty with adjusted gross income of $57,000 or less and those who qualify for the EITC. In addition, taxpayers who choose the TurboTax Freedom Edition can also prepare and file state returns in 23 states at no additional costs.

Holly Perez

Holly loves helping people better manage their money with her work with Quicken and Mint. You can also find her chasing after good bargains and her two boys.

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