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Consumer Archive

Consumer

File or forfeit earned income credit

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MADISON, Wis. (2/3/10)--The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) could put as much as $5,657 in the hands of eligible taxpayers, more if they live in a state with a similar state credit. But the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reminds that taxpayers must file and claim the credit to receive it--even if they owe no tax. The IRS estimates more taxpayers may qualify in 2009 and not realize it, due to changes in their incomes during the recession. In addition, working families with three or more children may qualify to get more money due to recent tax law changes. Single or married, with or without children, you may qualify if you:
* Worked part or all of 2009; * File a 2009 federal tax return; and * Make less than $48,000.
You must have income earned from a job, including wages, salaries, and tips; union strike benefits; long-term disability benefits before minimum retirement age; and net earnings from self employment. Some income doesn’t count toward the credit: interest and dividends, pensions, Social Security payments, unemployment benefits, and alimony and child support. The IRS cautions against these common EITC filing errors:
* Misreporting income; * Filing with Social Security number or last name discrepancies; * Filing as single or as head of household when you are married; and * Claiming a child who doesn’t meet all of the qualifying tests.
These and other errors can delay your EITC portion of a refund or even cause your claim to be denied. For more tax information, view the video “Getting Tax Records Organized” in Home & Family Finance Resource Center.