Farmingdale, New Jersey --- More workers could be eligible for a special tax credit this year and not know it. As a result, they may overlook claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC. The IRS estimates that 20 to 25 percent of eligible taxpayers fail to claim the credit, which could put as much as $5,666 into the pockets of a family with three or more children. These amounts vary according to the number of dependent children, but can include up to $457 for a worker with no children. The Earned Income Tax Credit is the federal government’s largest program benefitting lower-earning workers.
The IRS has joined together with the Monmouth County Financial Stability Partnership in order to bring this tax credit program to those low income taxpayers who are eligible. The Partnership includes the following members: Monmouth University, Brookdale Community College, Community Enterprises Corporation, Monmouth County Workforce Investment Board, SCAN Learning Center, Novadebt and United Way of Monmouth County. These services are provided through VITA (Volunteer in Tax Assistance) centers free of charge.
EITC has a vital economic role in the community. In the past four years, it has brought more than $100 million to Monmouth County residents in their tax refunds. This has helped to support local businesses and services, in addition to providing income stability to families.
People move into and out of EITC eligibility based on changes in their earnings, their parental status or their marital status. Many people will qualify for the first time this year due to economic changes in their incomes. IRS estimates four out of five eligible workers claim their EITC. “We want to raise that to five out of five,” says Tim Hearne, President & CEO of United Way of Monmouth County. “You earned it. Now file, claim it and get it.”
Taxpayers who earn less than $50,000 and whose investment income is $3,100 or less may qualify for this credit. Children qualify as a dependent with certain IRS relationship and residency requirements. The EITC is a valuable, but complex, tax break. VITA sites provide free help in determining eligibility and with filing claims. To schedule an appointment at a site near you, call Kaarina Romero at United Way of Monmouth County at 732-938-5988 x10. Locations include the following:
SCAN Learning Center in the Monmouth Mall
NJ Route 35 & 36, Eatontown, NJ 07724
Brookdale Community College
213 Broadway, Long Branch, NJ 07712
400 Cedar Avenue, West Long Branch, NJ 07764
225 Willowbrook Road, Freehold, NJ 07728
People should come prepared with the following items:
- Valid driver's license or photo identification (self & spouse, if applicable)
- Social Security cards for client, spouse and dependents and/or a Social Security Number verification letter issued by the Social Security Administration
- Birth dates for client, spouse and dependents on the tax return
- Current year’s tax package (if the client received one)
- All income statements: Forms W-2, Social Security, Unemployment or other benefits statements, self-employment records and any documents showing taxes withheld
- Interest and dividend statements from banks (Form 1099)
- Dependent child care information: payee’s name, address and SSN or TIN
- Bank Routing Numbers and Account Numbers for Direct Deposit (if applicable)
- A copy of last year’s Federal and State returns (if available)
- Prior year tax return (if available)
- Any other pertinent documents or papers
- To file taxes electronically on a married filing joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.
All VITA services for tax preparation are free of charge. For more information, contact United Way of Monmouth County at 732-938-5988 or Community Enterprises Corporation at 732-780-1175. For the locations of other VITA sites in New Jersey, visit http://nj211.org/vita09.cfm.United Way of Monmouth County, incorporated in 1967, is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that raises funds to advance the common good. This organization creates opportunities for a better life for all by focusing our efforts on Education, Income and Health. If you would like to know more about United Way of Monmouth County, please visit our website at www.uwmonmouth.org.