EITC Awareness Day

January 29, 2021 marks the 15th time the Internal Revenue Service has publicized EITC Awareness Day. It is a day when various organizations try to spread the word about a tax program of importance to working people.

Here are a few numbers worth thinking about.

78 percent of households claim the Earned Income Tax Credit when they file their federal taxes. EITC is a credit that increases your tax refund or reduces what you owe Uncle Sam. 78% also means that 22% don’t claim the EITC.

2300 dollars is a typical Federal EITC refund for families in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

58,000 young workers in New Jersey will be able to take advantage of the New Jersey EITC for the first time when filing their 2020 tax return. New Jersey expanded their program by lowering the age requirement from 25 years to 21.

65,000,000,000 dollars – $65 billion – is about the amount received by 25 million eligible workers and families in EITC, according to IRS statistics.

Millions did not receive a stimulus check in 2020. The 2020 tax form has been redesigned for those who missed out. People who did not get an Economic Impact Payment may be eligible for a Recovery Rebate Credit. For details, please read the article, “What do I do if I didn’t get my first or second stimulus checks?” by Christine Tran of the 2020 Get It Back Campaign. See the IRS page for more questions and answers about the Recovery Rebate Credit, especially for those who did not file a tax return last year.

Often overlooked are a number of programs available to help taxpayers file tax returns free. These programs include: MyFreeTaxes, a joint partnership of United Way and H&R Block; Free File through the IRS. (A word of caution, to use Free File at $0 cost go through the IRS portal, not at a tax preparation company’s website.) Be sure to check your household income and the free programs income requirements.

Free tax counseling and tax filing is available through the VITA or TCE programs, short for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly. This year, some VITA/TCE sites are not operating at full capacity and others are not opening. To locate an open site near you, use the VITA/TCE Locator Tool or the AARP Site Locator Tool.

Additional information is available on this website’s Earned Income Tax Credit page.

Author: Michael Swayze

A retired county welfare agency administrator, who combines social work and computer skills to share information on community resources via the Internet since 1995.