Home The Scoop Qualifying low-income residents can file for Earned Income Tax Credit

Qualifying low-income residents can file for Earned Income Tax Credit

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Qualifying low-income Arizona taxpayers interested in filing for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) can find free tax preparation services at nearly 37 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) locations in the Phoenix metro area.

In Arizona, which has one of the nation’s highest poverty rates, EITC refunds for 2016 ranged from $506 to $6,269 depending upon adjusted gross income (AGI) and number of qualifying children per family.

The EITC is a federal tax credit for qualified low-income workers established in 1975 that lifts approximately 4 million people out of poverty annually, including more than 2 million children. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimates that as many as 20 percent of low-income eligible workers fail to claim the EITC each year.

Individuals qualify for EITC if earned income and adjusted gross income is each less than:

  • No children: $14,880 for a single person, $20, 430 for married couple filing jointly.
  • One qualifying child: $39,296 for a single person, $44,846 for married couple.
  • Two qualifying children: $44,648 for single person; $50,198 for married couple.
  • Three qualifying children: $47,955 for single person, $53,505 for married couple.

Tax returns must be filed by April.

“The EITC is one of the most effective means for lifting Americans out of poverty,” said Cynthia Zwick, executive director of the Arizona Community Action Association. “Our goal is to make sure that eligible residents know about EITC and claim this benefit they are entitled to because it can make a real difference for qualifying individuals and families. Unfortunately, too many people let this opportunity go.”

In Arizona, more than 100,000 low- and moderate-income workers did not receive this potentially significant financial resource.

“At the same time, the state fails to benefit from the financial boost generated by the additional dollars into the economy,” Zwick said.

VITA requires:

  • Social Security and/or ITIN cards for all listed on the return.
  • Picture ID.
  • All documents with income or withholding (W-2 and 1099 forms).
  • Information for other income.
  • Information for all deductions and/or credits.
  • A copy of last year’s tax returns.
  • Proof of account for direct deposit of refund (e.g. voided check).
  • If married filing joint returns, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.

To receive an Earned Income Tax Credit, these requirements must be met:

  • A valid Social Security number.
  • You must have earned income from employment or from self-employment.
  • Your filing status cannot be married, filing separately.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien all year, or a nonresident alien married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien and filing a joint return.
  • You cannot be a qualifying child or another person.
  • If you do not have a qualifying child, you must.
  • Be age 25 but under 65 at the end of the year.
  • Live in the United States for more than half the year.
  • Not qualify as a dependent of another person.
  • Cannot file Form 2555 or 2555-EZ (related to foreign earned income).

A full list of VITA preparation sites is below and can be found at http://azcaa.org/volunteer-income-tax-assistance-vita/.

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