Paying taxes is something of a necessary evil for most people. You curse your way through, while trying to maximize your refund — or minimize what you’ll pay.
But did you know that many people unnecessarily leave money on the table by failing to claim their Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a refundable income tax credit for low to moderate income working households? Not only can this affect you personally. It can also have a ripple effect on the economy when that cash doesn’t get spent. It’s far from chump change — we’re talking about billions of dollars that literally fall out of the economy each year.
The federal EITC benefit for the 2009 tax year ranges from $5,657 for families with three children to $457 for individuals or couples without children…so it’s real money, for real people! But according to the New America Foundation, in California alone, as many as 800,000 eligible Californians don’t claim EITC and will leave $1.2 billion dollars unclaimed.
So what can you do about it? Check out this video , created by the TurboTax team to explain what EITC is, who qualifies and why it’s important.
To start, an individual must have earned income, be a US citizen or legal resident and have a valid social security number. For tax year 2009, a qualified claimant may have investment income of less than $3,100…and the maximum annual earned income depends on the number of qualifying children in the household…. Confused? Don’t be; watch the video!
So…now you know. And if you qualify, go get yours. Otherwise, let people know about California First Lady Maria Shriver’s WE Connect campaign to hook people up with money-saving programs that give them more unclaimed state and federal dollars.
WEb Connector (free in English and Spanish), created and donated by Intuit, is modeled after TurboTax technology and lets people see if they qualify for EITC or other programs that will put more state and federal money in their pockets – and then helps them apply.
If in California, let people know about WE Connect Weekend in Los Angeles (March 26 – 28) that bring together local, state and federal public and private resources all in one place to get more money into pockets and revenue streams.