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Archived: If Eligible, Take Advantage of Tax Credits and Free Help

According to the IRS, 20 to 25 percent of workers don’t claim the Earned Income Tax Credit even though they qualify.

Each year, thousands of hardworking families in the 34th Congressional District and throughout the Los Angeles area lose money they’re entitled to because they fail to take advantage of two important tax credits  – the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC). Could you be one of them?  As the April 15 deadline approaches for filing your taxes, I encourage you to find out whether you qualify for one or both of these credits. During these challenging economic times, the answer could mean more money in your pocket, even if you don’t owe taxes.

If your family earned less than $48,279 in 2009, you may be eligible for the EITC. Eligibility for the credit depends on factors such as your total income and family size. For some families, the Earned Income Tax Credit is worth up to $5,657. The EITC is first used to cover any federal taxes owed by an eligible worker. After any tax liability is paid off, tax filers receive all of their remaining Earned Income Tax Credit in the form of a check from the IRS.

The Child Tax Credit allows families to claim a credit worth up to $1,000 for each qualifying child under 17. Similar to the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit is first used to reduce or pay off any taxes owed by the family. After that, depending upon a family’s income, some filers may also qualify to receive a refund of all or part of any leftover Child Tax Credit funds.

By taking advantage of the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit, eligible families can keep more of their hard earned dollars. Additional eligibility information about both tax credits appears below. Your questions can also be answered by calling the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 or by visiting the federal agency’s Web site at www.irs.gov.

Free tax preparation services from trained community volunteers are also available through the “Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)” program. To find out if you qualify or for the Los Angeles locations nearest you, please visit www.eitc-la.com or call the 2-1-1 information hotline in Los Angeles County. Seniors can also locate free AARP tax-aide counseling sites in their area by calling 1-888-227-7669.

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34) office offers a wide variety of services to the community: Obtain more information about federal services at her Web site: www.house.gov/roybal-allard or by calling her district office at (213) 628-9230.