Earned Income Tax awareness could fatten your wallet

Lawton_The Internal Revenue Service says three out of four people receive a tax refund, and since you may have money coming your way, you shouldn't dread filing your taxes.  But, you may be one of millions of Americans who are not receiving all of their benefits if you didn't complete the proper paperwork.

The IRS is promoting Earned Income Tax Awareness Day Thursday, January 31.  They say this valuable tax credit is available for lower income workers who may not even know the money is out there waiting for them.

Lawton resident Lorene Stamper filed her taxes Wednesday at the Great Plains Improvement Vita Office.  She says she was excited to hear about the EITC.  "I don't know that people really know about earned income tax credit," says Stamper.  "Most people are shocked at what kind of money they can get back from claiming earned income tax."

But, what exactly is Earned Income Tax Credit?  David Stell with the IRS says it's a credit available to working individuals, married couples, and families.  "Credit can be worth up to about $4,700 this year which is a refundable amount," he says.  "Which means it can create, or add to a refund you're already entitled to."

The income limits for EITC are:

  • Just under $40,000 for married couples with two or more children.
  • Just over $35,000 for married couples with one child.
  • $14,590 for married couples with no children.
  • $12,590 for single people with no children.

Stell says although EITC has been around since 1975, not all eligible filers know about it.  "We've decided to highlight the earned income tax credit because many people don't know about it," says Stell.  "One in four tax payers are not aware they qualify for it - or it even know at all."

Although tax talk can seem complex, it's important to remember you have options - you can actually call for help.  With a bit of research it should be fairly easy to find a tax assistance center located near you.

Lawton's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Office - or VITA, is located in the Great Plains Improvement Foundation building just off of Lee Blvd.  They are open Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5:30-7:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. .  For more information or to make an appointment, call 580-353-2364.

7News Reporter Andrea Charles