How Non-Filers Can Get Their Federal Stimulus Check

Millions of families are missing out on a $1200 or $2400 federal stimulus check, officially known as an Economic Impact Payment, because they did not file a tax return with the Internal Revenue Service. According to a report issued by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “About 12 million Americans risk missing out on the stimulus payments provided through the recent CARES Act because they must file a form by October 15 to receive it.”

Households may still be eligible for payments under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). To claim the payment non-tax filers must complete a “Non-Filers: Enter Your Payment Info Here” application and provide simple information. Issuance of Economic Impact Payments do not affect various social benefit programs, such as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Medicaid. The stimulus payment is a tax credit and does not count against social programs or as a Public Charge.

It is estimated there are 725,00 adults and children in New Jersey and Pennsylvania alone who missed receiving automatic payments, totaling $725 million.

According to IRS, the following may be eligible for the Economic Impact Payment: U.S. citizens, permanent residents and qualifying resident aliens who:

  • Have a valid Social Security number,
  • Could not be claimed as a dependent of another taxpayer, and
  • Had adjusted gross income under certain limits.

To apply use the IRS Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool if you are not required to file a federal income tax return for 2019 for any reason, including:

  • Your income is less than $12,200
  • You’re married filing jointly and together your income is less than $24,400
  • You have no income

Information you will be required to provide includes: full name, current mailing address, an email address, dates of birth and valid Social Security numbers, bank account and routing number, if you have one, driver’s license or state-issued ID, if you have one. To provide the required information individuals must create an account with IRS, providing their email address, phone number and establish a user ID and password.

Additional information is available on the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here page; and a recent report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, titled, “Aggressive State Outreach Can Help Reach the 12 Million Non-Filers Eligible for Stimulus Payments.”

The deadline to apply is October 15, 2020.

PA Register to Vote Flyer

At the eulogy for George Floyd we were reminded our movement won’t rest. We will continue to fight on until there is justice. To those who have marched and protested around our country and throughout the world, thank you.

For more than a year a number of us have been working hard to register voters in Philadelphia. A few months ago a group coalesced to become the Philly Voter Engagement Network, meeting on a weekly basis to promote voter registration and voter engagement. My contribution this past Friday was the development of a Register to Vote flyer. Feel free to post it in your community, share with organizations and networks.

The flyer was created for these COVID-19 times. A person can scan the QR Code with their smartphone and fill out the PA Department of State’s PA online voter registration form. Another QR Code (QR is short for quick response, created by a company, Denso Wave) links a prospective or a re-registering voter to a page for printing a hard copy voter registration application form.

The register to vote flyer will be an effective tool for registering or updating a voter registration record under the following conditions:

  • Attached to a sign while in public spaces
  • Attending protest marches, rallies or vigils
  • At other socially-distanced events
  • Placing on community bulletin boards
  • Displaying in local shop windows

Feel free to copy, distribute and reproduce this flyer. Share it with your network.

Together, we know our voices can be heard. Be safe. Be a voter.

Today Is EITC Awareness Day

Today is EITC Awareness Day, a day to promote a program of benefit to working families and individuals.

EITC is a tax program although it acts very much like a safety-net program. It puts over $1 billion in the hands (or checking account) of New Jersey residents each year. However, it needs publicity every year, too. About 25% of state residents do not taken advantage of the program at tax time, even though the average EITC tax credit is more than $2,000.

This year the Earned Income Tax Credit page of the New Jersey Community Resources website has had a major revamping. Easy to find links are listed below. Please do what you can to spread the word about EITC to working families, constituents, and co-workers.

Find a Location for Free Tax Help
NJ Free Tax Assistance Locations
Free Tax Site Locations in South Jersey and Philadelphia Area
EITCoutreach.org’s Get It Back Campaign
IRS’ EITC Assistant
MyFreeTaxes
Free File
AARP Foundation Tax-Aide
IRS Publication 596
Notice 1015 – “Have You Told Your Employees About the Earned Income Credit (EIC)?”
IRS Notice 797 – “Possible Federal Tax Refund Due to the Earned Income Credit (EIC)”
IRS2Go
NJ EITC Page
NJ Statement to Employees
NJ EITC Informational Flyer

2019 Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Information

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable tax credit for families and individuals who have income from employment. It increases the amount refunded to a taxpayer or reduces the amount of tax owed. For 2018, 576,000 filers in New Jersey were able to be credited $1.4billion with an average tax refund of $2,360. However, almost 25% of eligible New Jersey taxpayers never file for EITC. You must file a tax return to claim your EITC.

Twenty-nine states, including New Jersey, maintain their own EITC program. New Jersey taxpayers may receive a credit equal to 39% of their federal credit. It is based on their employment earnings, filing status, number of children and adjusted gross income (AGI).

Income Limits and Maximum EITC Credits

Number of Qualifying Children Single/Head of Household or Widow(er), Income Must be Less Than Married Filing Jointly, Income Must be Less Than Maximum Federal Credit Maximum NJ State Credit
No Child $15,570 $21,370 $529 $206
One Child $41,094 $46,884 $3,526 $1,375
Two Children $46,703 $52,493 $5,828 $2,273
Three or More Children $50,162 $55,952 $6,557 $2,557

The EITC Assistant is an online tool to estimate if an individual or family may qualify by answering a number of questions. The IRS also publishes a one page fact sheet, IRS Notice 797 and a more detailed booklet, IRS Publication 596.

Free assistance to prepare and file your federal income tax return is available from a number of organizations and programs. The United Way and H&R Block partner to offer MyFreeTaxes. All income levels are eligible to file both federal and state returns for free using MyFreeTaxes.com. Also available is Free File another free, easy to use online software program. Taxpayers whose adjusted gross income is $69,000 and below are eligible. The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program offers free tax preparation to low and moderate-income taxpayers, especially age 50 and older.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $56,000 or less, persons with disabilities and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals. In addition to VITA, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older. Most VITA and TCE sites are open February to April.

The IRS provides a Find a Location for Free Tax Help page. The NJ 2-1-1 Partnership maintains a NJ Free Tax Assistance Locations page. South Jersey residents in Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May and Cumberland Counties, as well as residents in Philadelphia and Montgomery County, can get tax preparation help from the non-profit Campaign for Working Families.

Non-profits, advocacy groups and government agencies can participate in outreach efforts by promoting the NJEITC page and their NJEITC Informational Flyer. Groups interested in conducting an outreach campaign or promoting EITC on social media should subscribe to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Get It Back Campaign.

Employers are encouraged to distribute copies of “Have You Told Your Employees About the Earned Income Credit (EIC)?”, available as Notice 1015 by the IRS. The New Jersey Division of Taxation publishes a Statement to Employees.

Smartphone users can download IRS2Go, the official IRS mobile app. You can use it to check your tax refund status or find free tax prepartion services, or even to send a payment to Uncle Sam.