United Way trying to get word out on EITC eligibility

By Bill O’Boyle - [email protected] | January 24th, 2017 7:53 pm

WILKES-BARRE — Friday is the 11th annual “Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day,” and the United Way of Wyoming Valley is trying get the word out to folks who are eligible about it.

According to Kathy Bozinski, United Way’s director of marketing and communications, the agency funds the free VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program through the Commission on Economic Opportunity, and this year, more individuals and families are eligible to get the EITC Credit.

According to the United Way:

• In 2016, 26 million workers received more than $65.6 billion in EITC refunds.

• If you worked last year and had income of less than $53,505, check out your eligibility for EITC.

• EITC can mean up to a $6,269 refund when you file a return if you have qualifying children. Workers without a qualifying child could be eligible for a smaller credit up to $506. On average, EITC adds $2,400 to refunds.

Bozinski said many people who are eligible for the EITC tax break can learn about it through the free VITA tax prep program.

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) helps millions of workers keep more of what they earn to pay for things like reliable transportation to get to work, housing and food, and United Way of Wyoming Valley helps people claim the EITC at tax time.

One of the easiest ways for individuals to see if they are available for the credit is by having their income taxes prepared through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. United Way of Wyoming Valley is currently providing a grant in the amount of $20,900 to the Commission on Economic Opportunity to provide free tax preparation services through the VITA program.

Since 2005, the Commission on Economic Opportunity has delivered the program, an initiative of the IRS, designed to promote and support free tax preparation services for income-eligible individuals and families. The program is widely recognized as a gateway for connecting eligible participants to the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Funding will be used to identify eligible families for the program, recruit and train volunteer tax preparers, and connect participants to free credit counseling and financial literacy services that promote asset management and financial stability.

For more information

On funding available for the VITA program and how it can connect eligible individuals to the EITC:

• Contact Jennifer Deemer, United Way’s vice president of community impact, at 570-829-6711, ext. 1235 or 570-822-0522; or email her at: [email protected]

• For information about the VITA program, who qualifies for the free income tax preparation and how to set up an appointment, contact: Gene Brady or Jennifer Warabak, Commission on Economic Opportunity; phone: 570-826-0510.

What you need

Individuals should bring the following to ensure volunteers get them the right amount of credit:

• A valid driver’s license or other photo ID card.

• Social security cards, a social security number verification letter for all persons listed on the return.

• Birth dates for all persons listed on return.

• All income statements: Forms W-2 and 1099, Social Security, unemployment, and other statements, such as pensions, stocks, interest and any documents showing taxes withheld.

• All records of expenses, such as tuition, mortgage interest or real estate taxes.

• Copies of last year’s state and federal tax returns, if you have.

• Bank routing numbers and account numbers to direct deposit any refund.

• Dependent child care information: name and address of who you paid and either the caretaker’s SSN or other tax identification number.

• If you purchased coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement.

• Both spouses to sign forms to e-file a joint tax return.


By Bill O’Boyle

[email protected]

Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.