LOS ANGELES, Feb. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Greater Los Angeles Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Campaign Partnership, led by United Way of Greater Los Angeles, and with generous support from Citibank, the City of Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles, and the IRS, 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 supported by The Bank of America Charitable Foundation and The Walmart Foundation 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 $2 billion in refunds to qualified taxpayers, helping to subsidize family income and further drive the local economy in Los Angeles County. For 2011 (the 2010 tax year), the credit can translate to a refund of up to $5,666 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 $48,362 (or $43,352 for single parent) are eligible for up to $5,666 (new this year);
- Families with two qualifying children who earn less than $45,373 (or $40,363 for single parent) are eligible for up to $5,036;
- Families with one qualifying child who earn less than $40,545 (or $35,535 for single parent) are eligible for up to $3,050; and
- Married workers between the ages of 25-64 who earn less than $18,470 (or $13,460 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 L.A. 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, EITC has been expanded to help qualifying families with three or more children with a larger credit worth up to $5,666. 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. To encourage low- to moderate-income taxpayers to save part of their tax refund and build a positive savings habit, United Way is partnering with Citibank to offer qualified individuals a special Ramp Up Accelerated savings account as part of the "Get Paid to Save" program.
"Citibank is proud to join United Way and the 'Get Paid to Save' partner organizations to help working families establish and grow savings," said Lisa Deloney, Executive Vice President for Citibank's Metro Southern California Division. "Through this effort, we can help more families save money to reach their short or long-term financial goals."
In addition to the refund available through EITC, the Child Tax Credit also provides families earning over $3,000, with dependent qualified 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, individuals and working families can call L.A. County's "2-1-1" line or visit the EITC Partnership's website at www.greaterlaeitc.org to find one of over 150 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 www.greaterlaeitc.org 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 housing and health, 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.
Citibank is a member of Citi®, the leading global financial services company, which has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Through Citicorp and Citi Holdings, Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management. Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com or www.citi.com.
SOURCE United Way of Greater Los Angeles