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More households need to check for Earned Income Tax Credits when filing


UNDATED (WSAU) -- People are already filing income taxes, but many people are making a costly mistake. That’s according to Christopher Miller from the Internal Revenue Service. He says the Earned Income Tax Credit could go to thousands of additional people, if they would only ask for it. He says tax filers just need to take a little extra time to see if they qualify for it. “About a third of the EITC filers each year are people claiming it for the very first time, so people’s lives change, their jobs change, maybe they get married or divorced, or have a child, so each year, millions of people may be eligible for this important credit for the very first time and may not know it.”

Miller says the EITC credit adds up to a good sized refund for many taxpayers. “In Wisconsin last year, around 385,000 taxpayers received EITC, and it totals some 813-million dollars. (That’s a) significant amount of money and the average credit in Wisconsin was just over 21-hundred dollars.”

Miller says there are income guidelines, but you should check your eligibility every year because situations change. Families don’t have to have children in all cases to qualify. Miller says many non-traditional families, such as grandparents raising children often qualify, too. “In Wisconsin, there are a good number of families getting this credit, but we estimate about 20% miss out. That means around 77-thousand more families in the Badger state could be taking advantage of this valuable credit. If they earned it, they should get it.”

There’s more information about the Earned Income Tax Credit at their website, IRS.gov, including an interactive quiz to help determine if you’re eligible.

Workers, self-employed people and farmers who earned $51,567 or less last year could receive larger refunds if they qualify for the EITC. That could mean up to $487 in EITC for people without children, and a maximum credit of up to $6,044 for those with three or more qualifying children. Unlike most deductions and credits, the EITC is refundable. In other words, those eligible may get a refund from the IRS even if they owe no tax.

(Our interview with Christopher Miller from the IRS can be heard on our website, here.)