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United Way promotes EITC Awareness Day

BOISE, Idaho — Workers across Idaho may get a larger tax refund this year because of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). But to get it, workers must file a tax return and claim it.

Friday, Jan. 27, marks the 11th anniversary of EITC Awareness Day, a nationwide effort to increase awareness about the EITC and free tax preparation sites. This year, the Internal Revenue Service is promoting the EITC and providing information on other refundable tax credits, including the American Opportunity Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit.

In 2016, 26 million workers in the U.S. received more than $65.6 billion in EITC refunds, according to the IRS. In Idaho, 130,000 people claimed the EITC, receiving more than $300 million in refunds. The average EITC return in Idaho was $2,341.

“For so many families here in the Treasure Valley, as well as across the country, the EITC can mean putting food on the table or paying the bills,” said Nora Carpenter, CEO and president of United Way of Treasure Valley, which works to support financial stability for local families. “The EITC refund money can be spent taking care of a medical issue or making a car repair that someone has put off.”

Workers who had an income less than $53,505 last year are encouraged to check their eligibility for the EITC online at irs.gov. Workers with children who qualify for the EITC may receive up to $6,269. Workers without a qualifying child could be eligible for a smaller credit up to $506.

The IRS estimates that four out of five workers claim the EITC they earned. This leaves billions of dollars on the table each year. 

“We want to get the word out to those who are eligible to file a tax return even if they don’t owe any tax to claim the EITC,” the IRS stated in a press release. “It’s money workers can use for groceries, rent, utilities and other bills.”

Information regarding tax filing and tax assistance can be found on the Idaho State Tax Commission’s website, tax.idaho.gov, or by calling Idaho’s Careline at 2-1-1. 

Individuals and families with an annual income of less than $64,000 may be eligible to file their state and federal taxes for free on MyFreeTaxes.com. Powered by United Way and H&R Block, MyFreeTaxes.com is safe and secure, and helps tax-filers ensure they are getting their maximum refund and if they qualify for tax credits, such as the EITC. 

To learn more, visit MyFreeTaxes.com.