2009 Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Benefits Working Families With Up to Over $5,650 in Individual Tax Refunds; Up to $250 Million Goes Unclaimed Each Year

Los Angeles EITC Partnership Supports Families with Refund Filing, Free Tax Preparation, and Financial Counseling throughout Los Angeles County

Jan 28, 2010, 13:00 ET from United Way of Greater Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The Greater Los Angeles Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Campaign Partnership, led by United Way of Greater Los Angeles, today announced its annual effort to help qualified low and moderate-income families reach financial stability. The EITC partnership is part of a widespread national effort to drive public awareness about the tax credit and other services provided by participating organizations.

One of the largest anti-poverty programs for working families, EITC brings an estimated $1.5 billion in refunds to qualified taxpayers, helping to subsidize family income and further drive the local economy in Los Angeles County. For 2010 (the 2009 tax year), the credit can translate to a refund of up to $5,657 for low and moderate-income families with three or more children – a figure equal to nearly two months of income for many families.

EITC provides the following benefits for qualified working families:

  • Families with three or more qualifying children who earn less than $48,279 (or $43,279 for single parent) are eligible for up to $5,657 (new this year);
  • Families with two or more qualifying children who earn less than $45,295 (or $40,295 for single parent) are eligible for up to $5,028;
  • Families with one qualifying child who earn less than $40,463 (or $35,463 for single parent) are eligible for up to $3,043; and
  • Married workers between the ages of 25-64 who earn less than $18,440 (or $13,440 if single) and have no qualifying children are eligible for up to $457

"EITC is a vastly underutilized benefit, with up to 20 percent of eligible taxpayers leaving $250 million in credits left on the table. At the same time, costs for basic needs like housing and food is on the rise," said Elise Buik, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Los Angeles. "There are approximately 800,000 taxpayers in LA County alone that qualify for EITC. This year, our goal is to increase participation in EITC by ten percent, which would bring 41,000 area residents into the free tax sites to obtain assistance in claiming over $38 million in total refunds. This money is put directly back into residents' pockets and into our local economy."

This year, through funds available from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), EITC has been expanded to help qualifying families with three or more children with a larger credit worth up to $5,657. Those who qualify, but have failed to claim the credit in prior years, may also apply for the EITC retroactively for a period of up to three years. Qualified families with at least one child living with them may receive up to $152 per month in advance as extra money in their paycheck by filing the IRS form W-5, giving them an instant infusion of cash to support their income.  

In addition to the refund available through EITC, the Child Tax Credit also provides families earning over $3,000, down from $8,500 last year due to ARRA, with dependent children under 17 years old, the opportunity to receive credits of up to $1,000 per child.  Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites, supported by the EITC partnership, can help families apply for these credits. Last year, the partnership supported and promoted VITA and AARP Tax-Aide sites that helped residents collect approximately $13 million in EITC (a 23 percent increase from the previous year) and $36.8 million in total tax refunds (a 45 percent increase from the previous year).

To qualify for EITC services and tax credits, claimants must be qualified working U.S. citizens and legal residents with Social Security numbers. If a legal resident meets all of the qualifications, they are also able to retroactively claim the EITC for a period of up to three years.

For more information and to see if they qualify, individuals and working families can call L.A. County's "2-1-1" line or visit the EITC Partnership's web site at www.eitc-la.com to find one of over 100 free tax preparation sites.

About the EITC Campaign Partnership 

The EITC Campaign Partnership is a broad-based coalition of government agencies, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations and financial institutions who have come together to improve the economic status of L.A.'s working families by increasing the number of EITC filings and providing Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites.  Visit http://www.eitc-la.com for more information.

About United Way of Greater Los Angeles

United Way of Greater Los Angeles is a nonprofit organization that creates pathways out of poverty by focusing on meeting basic needs, improving educational achievement and increasing financial stability for the most vulnerable in our community. Through its research work, United Way identifies the issues and works in partnership with community leaders and supporters to solve them by funding targeted programs and advocating for change. For more information, visit www.unitedwayla.org.

SOURCE United Way of Greater Los Angeles